Veterans for Peace, Philadelphia, PA - Chapter 31



DU weapons are composed of Depleted Uranium (DU). DU is a waste product of the nuclear industry. Depleted Uranium itself is a chemically toxic and radioactive compound, which is used in armour piercing munitions because of its very high density. It is1.7 times denser than lead. This allows it to easily penetrate the steel armour of tanks and other vehicles when fired at high velocity.  In addition to armour-piercing penetrators, DU is also used as armour in US M1A1 and M1A2 battle tanks and in small amounts in some types of landmine (M86 PDM and ADAM). M86 PDM and ADAM landmines contain each 0,101 g of DU. 432 ADAM antipersonnel landmines were used on the Kuwaiti battlefield during the 1991 Gulf War. Both M86 PDM and ADAM landmines are still in U.S. stockpiles.


At least 18 countries are thought to have weapon systems with DU in their arsenals. These include: UK, US, France, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Pakistan, Thailand, China, India and Taiwan. Many of them were sold DU ammunition by the US.


There are three chief hazards associated with DU: its chemical toxicity, radioactivity and the effects of fine metal particles, or fumes, on the body. Both of these hazardous properties are exacerbated by the fact that DU is pyrophoric. A pyrophoric material is one that oxidizes rapidly and can burst into flame at low temperatures in the proximity of oxygen. As the projectile hits a hard target, the DU burns at temperatures of between 3000°C and 6000°C. As it oxidizes, it turns into a fine dust, which can be blown for long distances from the place of the impact; this dust can then be inhaled by soldiers and civilians alike.


Animal and cellular studies have shown clear evidence of the carcinogenic (transforming healthy cells into cancerous ones), neurotoxic and immuno-toxic effects of DU (the immune system defends the body from Infections and even some types of cancerous cells); as well as its ability to damage the reproductive system and foetus (which may cause birth defects). Some data also suggests that uranium can directly damage the DNA and enzyme proteins in living cells. Many scientific and medical papers on the chemical and radiological toxicities of uranium have been published.


Even though the use of DU weapons should already be illegal under International Humanitarian, Human rights and Environmental Laws, as has been seen with chemical and biological weapons and landmines an explicit treaty has proved the best solution for confirming their illegality and banning their production, and all other processes related to DU weapons. Such a treaty would not only outlaw the use of DU weapons, but would include the prohibition of their production, the destruction of DU stockpiles, the decontamination of battlefields and rules on compensation for victims; the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons has drafted this treaty.



US campaigners from the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and ICBUW are calling for support for an online petition urging US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to stop the US from opposing UN resolutions on depleted uranium weapons.

This autumn a fourth resolution on DU weapons will be tabled at the United Nations. It won't ban the weapons but with good support it will get us closer to that goal. Just four states are voting against the resolutions, the US, UK, France and Israel. Of these, the US is by far the largest user of DU weapons.

Please add your signature to this important call @

International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons -
Campaign Against Depleted Uranium -
Grassroots Actions for Peace -
Toxic Effects of Depleted Uranium Weapons - presentation by Thomas M. Fasy, MD, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Effects of Depleted Uranium Exposure - Thomas M. Fasy, MD, @ Marching Home, conference on the Iraq war's impact on veterans
Beyond Treason - documentary on US horrific use of DU -
Depleted Uranium Kills Our Troops -
When the Dust Settle/short film on DU -
VFP Chap. 31 member Jim Willgruber knows much re: DU; email him @ if you have a question.
ICBUW, IKV Pax Christi and the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq meeting on DU, June 2011


New US bill aims to ensure identification and health testing of veterans:

In January U.S. Representative José E. Serrano introduced a bill in Congress that seeks to identify members of the US armed forces who may have been exposed to depleted uranium and which aims to ensure health monitoring for veterans.

Representative José E. Serrano representshe 16th Congressional District of New York in the Bronx. Serrano and served in the 172nd Support Battalion of the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the 1960s.

US activists and veterans' groups are urging supporters to contact their Representatives at their Washington DC offices to call on them to support or co-sponsor the text. The Depleted Uranium Screening and Testing Act, as it is known, has been referred to the Committee on Armed Services.  Full text here:

H.R.248                      112th CONGRESS

HR 248 IH                   1st Session

H. R. 248

House of Representatives members contact info -
US Senate members contact info -
White House contact info -
Department of Defense contact info -


June 2011

The documentary URANIO 238 – The Pentagon´s Dirty Pool, produced by Pablo Ortega, won the prize for best short documentary in the Uranium Film Festival, which took place May 22 to 28 in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. URANIO 238 had also won best documentary in the Costa Rican Movie and Video Festival in 2009.
URANIO 238, produced for the San José Quaker Peace Center, has a duration of 28 minutes, and analizes the impact on the health of civilians and military personnel from the use of depleted uranium, which is currently used in conventional weapons. “Through interviews with soldiers and activists, the documentary explores the health risks when this material is ingested or inhaled by people in war zones or test areas,” Ortega explained.

According to the producer, the main goal of the documentary was to point out the risks of the military use of depleted uranium for a presentation in the First Latin American Conference on Uranium Weapons. This event was organized by the San Jose Quaker Peace Center, the International Depleted Uranium Study Team (IDUST) and the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) in San José, Costa Rica in 2009.

"Used in 1991 in the first Gulf War, the Balkans conflict, and later on in the second invasion of Iraq, this dangerous toxic and radioactive waste is associated with alarming rises in cancer rates, infant malformations and other health effects among civilian populations in war zones and soldiers who are deployed in these wars or live next to DU testing sites," according to Damacio

Lopez of IDUST.

This documentary is part of a worldwide campaign to ban the use of uranium weapons in wars. The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) is a global network which seeks an international treaty banning DU weapons world wide. As part of these efforts, peace activists recently celebrated on April 28th 2011, the passing by the Legislature of Costa Rica, of a reform to Costa Rica´s Arms Law, banning the use, manufacture, transit, production and distribution of uranium weapons.

Uranio 238 on Youtube:

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:







1987 photo of depleted uranium ammunition aboard the USS Missouri.