Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions were first used operationally by US and British coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 to eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Since that time, concerns have been raised in various quarters regarding the possible adverse effects DU may have on human health and the environment. In particular, it has been suggested that the reported ‘explosion of childhood cancer in southern Iraq’ and so-called Gulf War and Balkans Syndromes may be attributable to combat uses of DU in the Middle East and, more recently, in Bosnia in the mid 1990s. Such concerns, however, appear not to have impeded either the proliferation or continued use of DU munitions, such as in Kosovo and Serbia in 1999, in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. It is thought that, in addition to the US and the UK, a growing number of other countries have DU munitions in their arsenals.
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