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Tests on German peacekeepers serving in Kosovo have revealed no signs of exposure to debris from depleted uranium ammunition.
The results were disclosed after the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was "unlikely" that DU ammunition fired during NATO's air war against Yugoslavia could have caused cancer.
in 1996, the Pentagon revealed that thousands of U.S. troops may have been exposed to low-level doses of the debilitating nerve gas sarin when they destroyed a sprawling Iraqi ammunition depot at Kamisiyah in 1991.
Radiation levels from depleted uranium are 40 percent lower than those found in the natural form of the metal, which occurs commonly in the environment, NATO officials argue. U.S. officials point out that the Department of Defense has been monitoring 33 American soldiers whose bodies contain fragments of depleted-uranium shells as a result of "friendly fire" incidents during the Gulf War, and none of them have developed renal difficulties or cancer.
U.S. soldiers who were near an Iraqi chemical weapons site when it exploded during the Gulf War suffered a higher incidence of muscle and joint pains than soldiers not exposed to the blast.
Dr. Kenneth Kizer of the Department of Veterans' Affairs announced the finding Tuesday at a House of Representatives' hearing, but said more research was needed to prove the explosions at the site caused the problems. Iraqi weapons being destroyed
He said the finding came from a computer study of the medical records of 1,978 of the 21,799 U.S. soldiers who were within 30 miles (50 kilometers) of Iraq's Kamisiyah weapons dump in March 1991 when it was blown up by U.S. forces. The dump contained sarin and mustard gas weapons.
Kizer said 81 of the soldiers "have been diagnosed with musculoskeletal conditions at a higher rate than veterans who were further away." The soldiers were part of a weapons demolition team that blew up shells later found to contain the deadly nerve gas.