by New Scientist –
(April 15, 2003) — Wrecked tanks and vehicles litter the Iraqi countryside. Ruined buildings dominate towns and cities. Many were blown to pieces by shells tipped with depleted uranium, a material that the US and Britain say poses no long-term health or environmental risks. But many Iraqis, and a growing band of scientists, are not so sure. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) wants to send a scientific team into Iraq as soon as possible to examine the effects of depleted uranium (DU). People’s fears that DU leaves a deadly legacy must be addressed, says UNEP. Some scientists warn that evidence is emerging that DU affects our bodies in ways we do not fully understand, they say, and the legacy could be real.