Depleted Uranium: A Slow Motion Environmental Catastrophe and Global Health Disaster

Depleted uranium-catalyzed oxidative DNA damage: absence of significant alpha particle decay

Alexandra C. Miller*, Michael Stewart, Kia Brooks, Lin Shi, Natalie Page


Depleted uranium (DU) is a dense heavy metal used primarily in military applications. Published data from our laboratory have demonstrated that DU exposure in vitro to immortalized human osteoblast cells (HOS) is both neoplastically transforming and genotoxic. DU possesses both a radiological (alpha particle) and a chemical (metal) component. Since DU has a low-specific activity in comparison to natural uranium, it is not considered to be a significant radiological hazard. In the current study we demonstrate that DU can generate oxidative DNA damage and can also catalyze reactions that induce hydroxyl radicals in the absence of significant alpha particle decay. Experiments were conducted under conditions in which chemical generation of hydroxyl radicals was calculated to exceed the radiolytic generation by 106-fold. The data showed that markers of oxidative DNA base damage, thymine glycol and 8-deoxyguanosine could be induced from DU-catalyzed reactions of hydrogen peroxide and ascorbate similarly to those occurring in the presence of iron catalysts. DU was 6-fold more efficient than iron at catalyzing the oxidation of ascorbate at pH 7. These data not only demonstrate that DU at pH 7 can induced oxidative DNA damage in the absence of significant alpha particle decay, but also suggest that DU can induce carcinogenic lesions, e.g. oxidative DNA lesions, through interaction with a cellular oxygen species.

Published by Elsevier Science Inc.

This abstract can be found in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 91 (2002) 246–252, as well as at the link below:

The following article entitled DEPLETED URANIUM, DEPLETED MORALITY says it all, especially by way of its graphic and compelling photo-documentary. Perhaps this expose ought to be required reading and viewing for all school children; in this way such a practice of DU usage in any application would likely be banned from the planet forever. We’ll let you decide.


For anyone interested in additional reading on the subject of depleted uranium, the following site offers a treasure trove of information which will not appear in the mainstream media:


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