Uranium Stilll Killling Italian Troops
http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 2/hi/europe/ 6247401.stm
By Christian Fraser
BBC News, Rome
Italian soldiers are still dying following exposure to depleted
uranium in the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, their relatives say.
Troops who served during the wars in the 1990s believe they have
contracted cancer and other serious illnesses from extended exposure
to the munitions.
The US says it fired around 40,000 depleted uranium rounds during the
Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts.
A pressure group says 50 veterans have died and another 200 are
Depleted uranium is used on the tips of bullets and shells. Because
of its density it can pierce the armour plating on tanks.
But when it explodes it often leaves a footprint of chemically
poisonous and radioactive dust.
The Italians who served in Bosnia and Kosovo were involved in the
clear-up of battlefields and came into close contact with exploded
Children with disabilities
The association representing the soldiers, known as Anavafaf, says
many of those who have died or are ill have contracted cancer.
In 2002 the Italian defence ministry published a report compiled by
independent scientists which found a higher than average number of
servicemen were suffering from cancer.
It said there was an excessive number of Hodgkin's disease victims
among Italian Balkan peacekeepers.
A number of children fathered by the soldiers have been born with
There are similar reports from soldiers' associations in Belgium,
Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.
Both the US and Britain acknowledge the dust from depleted uranium
can be dangerous if inhaled but they insist the danger is short-lived