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Gulf War and Health: Volume 1. Depleted Uranium, Sarin, Pyridostigmine Bromide, Vaccines
soluble uranium compounds and in veterans exposed to DU from embedded shrapnel. Kidney function was normal in Gulf War veterans with embedded DU fragments years after exposure, despite urinary uranium concentrations up to 30.74 μg/g creatinine (McDiarmid et al., 2000).
The committee concludes that there is limited/suggestive evidence of no association between exposure to uranium and clinically significant renal dysfunction.
Other Health Outcomes
The information on other health outcomes in humans comes from epidemiologic studies of uranium processing workers and case reports of workers or other individuals accidentally exposed to large doses of uranium compounds. While the studies did not suggest that uranium has adverse health effects, the studies were of insufficient quality, consistency, or statistical power to permit a conclusion regarding the presence or absence of an association in humans.
The committee concludes that there is inadequate/insufficient evidence to determine whether an association does or does not exist between exposure to uranium and the following health outcomes: lymphatic cancer; bone cancer; nervous system disease; nonmalignant respiratory disease; or other health outcomes (gastrointestinal disease, immune-mediated disease, effects on hematological parameters, reproductive or developmental dysfunction, genotoxic effects, cardiovascular effects, hepatic disease, dermal effects, ocular effects, or musculoskeletal effects).
Sarin is a highly toxic nerve agent produced for chemical warfare. It was synthesized in 1937 in Germany in a quest for improved insecticides (Somani, 1992). Although its battlefield potential was soon recognized, Germany refrained from using its stockpiles during World War II. Sarin’s first military use did not occur until the Iran–Iraq conflict in the 1980s (Brown and Brix, 1998).
High-level exposures to sarin can be fatal within minutes to hours. In vapor or liquid form, sarin can be inhaled or absorbed, respectively, across the skin, eyes, or mucous membranes (Stewart and Sullivan, 1992). Because of its extreme potency, “high” sarin exposure for humans is quite low: Exposure to as little as 100 mg across the skin, or 50–100 mg/min/m3 by inhalation, is lethal to 50 percent of exposed individuals (Somani, 1992).
Sarin, or isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate, is a member of a class of chemicals known as organophosphorus esters (or organophosphates). A few highly toxic members of this large class are chemical warfare agents, but most are insecticides (Lotti, 2000). The drug pyridostigmine bromide is pharmacologically