Objective: To ensure that all veterans with retained embedded fragments are properly monitored for potential health effects of embedded materials.
Methods: Urine biomonitoring and health surveillance programs were developed to gather information about health risks associated with chemicals released from embedded fragments.
Results: Elevated systemic exposure to depleted uranium (DU) that continues to occur in veterans with DU fragments remains a concern, although no clinically significant DU-related health effects have been observed to date. Other metals and local tissue reactions to embedded fragments are also of concern.
Conclusions: Knowledge gained from these programs will help to develop guidelines for surgical removal of tissue-embedded fragments.