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My understanding is that DU is used in warheads because it is extremely hard (unlike lead), and thus good at armour busting.  It is also a handy way to get rid of a somewhat dangerous by product of fission.  Its radio-toxicity is presumably dependent on how depleted it is, and I doubt the military are too concerned at maintaining particularly high quality standards for ordinance that is intended for the enemy except insofar as it might also constitute a hazard for their own personnel.

The issue then becomes the implications for the civilian population living in war zones for extended periods where DU ordinance has been used.  It shouldn't be too hard to clear up the battlefields if the welfare of the civilian population is truly a concern. The scrap metal from the Falklands made an Irishman a multi-millionaire.

I suspect the dust from an exploded DU warhead is the major problem especially if it is inhaled. However anyone within breathing distance of such an exploded warhead is probably already dead!

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:26:48 PM EST
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