We have categorized the DU exposure scenarios into three levels based on their relative exposures, and have conducted testing to estimate the maximum exposure that could be associated with those scenarios. The levels of possible exposure are described more fully on the Medical Follow-Up page of this website, which also contains links to DoD policy on management of exposures. Level I is the highest exposure group, soldiers who were in, on, or near combat vehicles at the time they were struck by depleted uranium rounds, and soldiers who entered these vehicles immediately afterwards to perform combat rescue. This exposure level also includes personnel who have been struck by DU fragments. Depleted uranium metal fragments have struck a number of US soldiers, and some of these still have embedded DU fragments. Others are believed to have inhaled or ingested DU particles, or had DU dust contaminate their wounds.
The voluntary Veterans Affairs (VA) DU Medical Follow-up program in Baltimore remains the most important source for identifying potential adverse health effects in those friendly-fire victims who have embedded DU fragments, or who may have inhaled significant quantities of DU particles. About one fourth of the Level I exposed individuals who have been evaluated by the VA still carry DU fragments in their bodies, and some of those with embedded fragments have elevated levels of urine uranium more than ten years after the Gulf War. None of the individuals with DU fragments have developed kidney problems, leukemia, bone or lung cancers, or any other uranium-related adverse outcomes. No birth defects have been reported in their children. As a result, there is no reason to believe that other exposed Service members have any elevated risk to their health due to their DU exposures. However, to be cautious, the DoD and the VA continue to medically follow veterans with high-level DU exposures to ensure there are no long-term health effects associated with these ongoing DU exposures. References to some of the research articles reporting follow-up results on these Service members and veterans can be found through Research Projects and Publications in this website, and going to "DeployMed ResearchLink" for Medical Research Publications: Environmental & Occupational Health\Depleted Uranium.
Level II exposures comprise soldiers who worked in and around combat vehicles (mainly US vehicles that were struck by friendly fire munitions) and as many as 600 personnel who took part in the clean up after the fire at
A multidisciplinary team from the US Army Aberdeen Test Center, US Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center, USACHPPM, Batelle Memoral Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute conducted a study of the anticipated exposures under various scenarios, as well as the possible health effects or risks resulting from these exposures. The results were reported in the Capstone DU Project, comprised of two phases, the Capstone DU Aerosols Study, and the Capstone DU Human Health Risk Assessment. The Capstone DU Project realistically assessed possible exposures and risks for personnel in Levels I, II, and
More information on combat exposures is also available at Tab O of "Environmental Exposure Report", Depleted Uranium in the Gulf (II), or "Depleted Uranium-Human Exposure Assessment and Health Risk Characterization in Support of the Environmental Exposure Report 'Depleted Uranium in the Gulf' of the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses, Medical Readiness and Military Deployments (OSAGWI)".