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Depleted Uranium

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Depleted Uranium, or DU, is a very dense metal used by the military to strengthen special armor on tanks and other equipment and to make armor-piercing munitions. DU is a by-product of the naturally occurring heavy metal uranium, when it is enriched to make nuclear reactor fuel or nuclear weapons. Because DU has had much of its radioactive component removed, it is 40 percent less radioactive than naturally occurring uranium.

The Department of Defense (DoD) maintains a medical screening program to track servicemembers who may have been exposed to DU. It is part of DoD's overall surveillance program for servicemembers when they return from deployment and is a continuation of the DoD program that was begun during the 1st Gulf War. The main policies for the program are HA (Health Affairs) Policy 03-012 and HA Policy 04-004 which provide guidance on when and how the military services will test personnel for potential DU exposure.The DoD Policy calls for offering referral to all service members who have embedded DU fragments or other evidence of DU exposure found during testing to the VA's DU Follow-Up Program. The VA's program was developed in 1993 for ongoing monitoring of exposed servicemembers in order to identify any long-term implications of DU exposure.

For list of DoD, VA, and Service-Specific DU Points of Contact (POCs) and DU Consultation and Archiving Information, click here.

Policies and Directives

  DoD / Joint Forces

  VA (Department of Veterans Affairs)


  Air Force

  Navy / Marines

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Clinical Guidance

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Forms and Measures

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Fact Sheets

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Other DU-Related Information

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Education and Training

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Related Links

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