The VA has recently acknowledged a link between depleted uranium exposure and ill health effects, and is offering a special screening program for veterans who served in the Middle East. Eligible veterans who are concerned about their exposure can take advantage of the Depleted Uranium Follow-up Program at the Baltimore VA Medical Center at no cost to them.
Who Qualifies for Depleted Uranium Screening and Follow-Up Care?
The VA will screen and monitor health problems caused by depleted uranium for all veterans who actively served in the Gulf Wars, Bosnia, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn. If uranium poisoning is detected, the VA may recommend surgical removal of embedded fragments for veterans carrying toxic shrapnel.
The screening program is designed to detect potentially harmful levels of radiation and uranium toxicity in veterans who provide the following information:
- Completion of an exposure questionnaire
- A 24-hour urine collection test
- Detailed physical examinations
- Clinical organ function tests
Currently, the only veterans at risk for health effects from depleted uranium exposure are limited to internal contamination. Veterans who were in or near vehicles hit with friendly fire, rescuers entering or near burning vehicles, veterans who salvaged damaged vehicles and those exposed to munitions fires are likely candidates. However, merely riding in a vehicle with depleted uranium shielding or using depleted uranium weaponry is not likely to cause ill effects.
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