The health effects of uranium have been studied extensively for over 50 years. This is relevant because chemically, DU has the same properties as natural uranium, while being 40% less radioactive. While natural and depleted uranium are considered chemically toxic, they are not considered a radiation hazard. In May 1989 the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry published a Toxicological Profile for Uranium reviewing and summarizing the key uranium health effects literature. This document was updated in September 1999.
The Department of Defense has comprehensively studied the environmental fate of depleted uranium both before and after the Gulf War. Burn tests and other evaluations performed under simulated battlefield conditions indicated that the health risks associated with the battlefield use of depleted uranium were minimal and could be reduced even more by simple, field-expedient measures, especially, avoidance of depleted uranium-contaminated vehicles and sites.