There are reports from the Balkans and Iraq of individuals recovering the DU penetrators. Are these hazardous?

Depleted uranium penetrators are only one of many possible hazards on the battlefield. Civilians and soldiers are strongly discouraged from recovering souvenirs, particularly spent ammunition, from the battlefield.

Fortunately, DU is only mildly radioactive emitting alpha and beta particles, and gamma rays. Alpha particles, the primary radiation type produced by DU, are blocked by skin, while beta particles are blocked by clothing and shoes. While gamma rays are a form of highly-penetrating energy, the amount of gamma radiation emitted by DU is very low. The risk of chemical toxicity is also minimal because there is little likelihood that sufficient quantities of DU could be inhaled or ingested to cause a heavy metal concern.