The problem is that there's a hell of a lot of ignorance, misinformation, and outright lies involved.
- Those for tend to just out-right LIE and claim itâ€™s completely totally safe and all long term medical studies show that to be true, they say you can even eat the stuff and it wonâ€™t hurt you.
-They are very evil people for saying this, like the smoking companies x12. All heavy metals are very bad for you health if ingested, being radioactive makes it worse.
Those against tend to focus on the effect it has on the battlefield; the fact that uranium penetration rods â€˜self sharpenâ€™ when they hit hard tank armour and then explode into flame when they break through, roasting the tank crewâ€¦
-Thatâ€™s completely irrelevant offcourse, all weapons work in nasty ways if youâ€™re unlucky enough to get hit by them. These people are stupid.
The facts as I know them:
From the reading Iâ€™ve done, I gather that the main danger from depleted uranium on the battlefield seems to be from the small particles (dust) left behind from shattered ammunition. This dust can very easily find its way into humans, plants and animals. Heavy metals accumulate in the brain and organs (theyâ€™re not excreted), to which they cause harm and can contribute to death through failure of those organs.
- Heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and mercury are well known for this.
Depleted uranium isnâ€™t as radioactive as that used in missiles and reactors. The 235 and 238 isotopes are all removed, so whatâ€™s left doesnâ€™t give off much in the way of x-rays or gamma rays from any distance.
*The trouble is though, that if you get tiny particles in your body, they are still radioactive and apparently dose all the cells they come in contact with the equivalent of a hospital x-ray scanâ€™s worth of radiation every few seconds.
With a half life of a couple of billion years youâ€™ll keep getting your cells dosed at a constant rate for the rest of your life, however long that isâ€¦
-The danger there is cancer. Even one hospital x-ray scan increases your risk. Imagine how much that risk increases when you have the equivalent of thousands of scans every few seconds to millions of individual cells?
And if cancer doesnâ€™t get you, your organs will probably start failing anyway.
Not to mention the trouble with inherited genetic mutation: babies born without legs maybe?
The Uranium dust volume after a lot of ammunition has been used is pretty large. This will just blow around forever after the battle... well, until it gathers in nooks and crannies, kidneys and lymph glands. The heavy bullets will slowly sink down to the watertable and break down in the ground water supply.
Wars are fleeting, momentary things. But causing excessive, unneeded damage that continues for generations is nothing short of a war crime.
Youâ€™ve got a material thatâ€™s only used because itâ€™s marginally more effective against armoured targets and itâ€™s cheaper to produce than the main alternative: tungsten. Is it worth it when you harm your own troops and poison land and whole populations for generations?
(Iâ€™m not pointing fingers here. The US uses a lot of DU, but so does the Russian Federation and many other countries)