Giving the Devil His DU
As many people wonder about the long-term environmental effects of the war in Iraq, the U.N. has issued a report documenting the ongoing pollution problems posed by depleted uranium (DU) ammunition used by NATO forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mid-1990s. The report, published by the U.N. Environment Programme, found DU contamination in groundwater and drinking water; in some locations, the air was also contaminated, suggesting that wind or human activity can disturb DU dust long after weapons are fired. DU is a heavy metal used primarily for penetrating tanks and other armored targets. It is suspected of causing cancer and other health problems. A least 300 metric tons of it were fired during the 1991 Gulf War, and it has already been used in the current campaign in Iraq.