Researchers at University of Southern Maine in Portland have revealed that Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons may cause cancer, though so far the US government has been denying the possibility.
Previous research at the US government's Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico found that people exposed to DU dust were at little extra risk of developing cancers.
DU is a dense, inadequately radioactive metal that is used in armour-piercing shells and huge amounts of this metal was used by US and UK army during the Iraq invasion in 2003.
In the first study undertaken to find out DU's effects on human lung cells, toxicologist John Wise and colleagues at the University of Southern Maine in Portland exposed cultures of human bronchial fibroblasts to elements of uranium oxide typically found in DU dust, reports New Scientist.
The exposure changed the chromosomes in the cells, which died due to genotoxic effects that amplified with the particle concentration. The team therefore concluded that DU increases risk of lung cancer.