In a population of Gulf War I veterans who sustained inhalational exposure to depleted uranium during friendly fire incidents in 1991, we evaluated whether those with high body burdens of uranium were more likely to have pulmonary health abnormalities than those with low body burdens.
We compared self-reported respiratory symptoms, mean pulmonary function values, and prevalence of low-dose chest computed tomography abnormalities between high and low urine uranium groups.
We found no significant differences in respiratory symptoms, abnormal pulmonary function values, or prevalence of chest computed tomography abnormalities between high and low urine uranium groups. Overall, the cohort's pulmonary function values fell within the expected clinical range.
Our results support previous estimates that the depleted uranium levels inhaled during the 1991 friendly fire incidents likely do not cause long-term adverse pulmonary health effects.
From the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Drs Hines, Gucer, Breyer, Gaitens, Squibb, and McDiarmid, Mr Oliver, and Ms Engelhardt), Baltimore, Md; Occupational Health Program (Drs Hines, Gucer, Gaitens, Squibb, and McDiarmid, Mr Oliver, and Ms Engelhardt) and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (Dr Hines), Department of Medicine, and Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (Dr Kligerman), University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; and Joint Pathology Center (Dr Centeno), Biophysical Toxicology, Silver Spring, Md.
Address correspondence to: Stella E. Hines, MD, MSPH, Occupational Health Program and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 11 S Paca St, Second Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201 (email@example.com).
This program was funded through the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.