The tests found radiation at two sites in the Sarajevo suburb of Hadzici and one in Han Pijesak, in the Bosnian Serb republic, according to preliminary results released by the United Nations Environmental Program.
During its 1995 bombings of Serb positions around Sarajevo, NATO used munitions containing depleted uranium, a slightly radioactive heavy metal that is used to pierce armor. The Bosnian government said about 10,800 rounds with the material were fired in its territory.
Once lodged in the soil, the munitions can pollute the environment and create an up to 100-fold increase in uranium levels in groundwater, according to the U.N. Environmental Program.
Troops responsible for cleaning up Iraqi ammunition dumps may have been exposed to depleted uranium, a form of uranium used in munitions because of its density and metallurgical properties.
Increases in the rate of birth defects for children born to Gulf War veterans have been reported. A 2001 survey of 15,000 U.S. Gulf War combat veterans and 15,000 control veterans found that the Gulf War veterans were 1.8 (fathers) to 2.8 (mothers) times as likely to report having children with birth defects. After examination of children's medical records two years later, the birth defect rate increased by more than 20%.
Tests of 5 Gulf War Veterans in 2007 and analyzed by Wayne State University Medical staff revealed the 5 Veterans studied have severe chromosome damage. The damage uncovered is 10 times the level found in the normal population. The chromosome damage is similar to that seen when exposed to Alpha radiation and could be related to Depleted Uranium munitions exposure. Further, more widespread tests need to be conducted before conclusions can be drawn from this research.
Since 2001, medical personnel at the Basra hospital in southern Iraq have reported a sharp increase in the incidence of child leukemia and genetic malformation among babies born in the decade following the Gulf War. Iraqi doctors attributed these malformations to possible long-term effects of DU, an opinion which was echoed by several newspapers.
“One had a tail like a skinned lamb. Another one looked like a perfectly normal child, but with a monkey's face. Or the girl whose legs had grown together, half fish, half human," he added.
The report cites a study published in the Germany-based Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology saying there was a “sevenfold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003. Of 1,000 live births, 23 had birth defects,” adding that similar high numbers were reported from the city of Fallujah.
The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina came about as a result of the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Crisis emerged in Yugoslavia with the weakening of the Communist system at the end of the Cold War. The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1 March 1992 and 14 December 1995. Bosnia's war, which witnessed the worst atrocities Europe, has seen since the Second World War.
The internecine conflict between the Serb, Croat and Muslim communities is remembered worldwide for the horrific scenes of ethnic cleansing, concentration camps and mass graves.
By the end of the war in 1995, more than 100,000 people had been killed and almost a million more injured and displaced.
In the early 1990s, about 700,000 US troops were deployed to the Middle East to take part in a 5-week air bombing campaign and a 5-day ground operation that involved almost no traditional combat. Of these soldiers, about 150,000 subsequently became ill, almost all had to leave the service, and many remain unemployable.
Gulf War syndrome (GWS), affecting a number of men and women who served in the Persian Gulf War, represents a group of medical and psychological complaints, including fatigue, respiratory illness, muscular pain, spasms, skin rash, memory loss, dizziness, peripheral numbness, and sleep disturbances.
It is estimated that there are 300 tonnes of radioactive waste in the area which might have already affected 250,000 Iraqis.
More widespread tests need to be conducted before conclusions can be drawn from this research
Threat of Depleted Uranium use in future war between India and Pakistan:
Seeing the tension mounting between India and Pakistan, use of depleted uranium from Pakistan cannot be ruled out if war starts between two countries. Pakistan is increasing its capacity to produce nuclear bomb. According to a report Pakistan may be using depleted uranium in manufacturing war weapons.
Pakistan Ordnance Factories is the biggest defence industrial complex in Pakistan meeting almost one hundred percent of the ordnance needs of its armed forces, mainly the army.
In 2001 Pakistan developed a 125mm armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) projectile with a depleted uranium (DU) long-rod penetrator. It was made for use with Chinese-made T-80UD tanks. The Pakistani defence industry works closely with China, sharing research and development - this is largely done as a strategic counter-balance to Russia's close links with India's arms industry.
Depleted Uranium is used by a variety of countries – about 17 at this point. These countries are currently using/stockpiling DU weaponry: U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Turkey, and Kuwait. So it is not a small thing.
In 1996 the UN passed a resolution specifically about DU, that DU weapons are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). They are illegal under all international laws and treaties, and the European Parliament in 2001 passed a resolution against DU, and that resolution was actually the result of the use of DU by NATO in Bosnia.
The Issue of Depleted Uranium (DU) is extraordinarily important. It represents a clear threat to the health of all humanity, and all life forms on planet Earth. Scientists, medical professionals, war veterans, active duty personnel, international lawyers and the global human community are calling for an awareness of this crisis and simply to stop the use of Depleted Uranium, in order to preserve life on the planet.