HC Deb 16 April 1999 vol 329 cc372-3W
Mr. Steinberg

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the link between exposure to depleted uranium and the development of cancer in Gulf War veterans; and if he will make a statement. [81048]

Mr. Doug Henderson

I refer my hon. Friend to paragraphs 7–19 and 31 of the detailed paper "Testing for the presence of depleted uranium in UK veterans of the Gulf conflict: The Current Position", which I published on 19 March. A copy of the paper was sent to my hon. Friend on the date of its publication and copies were also placed in the Library of the House.

In addition, the Ministry of Defence is funding a major epidemiological study, led by Professor Nicola Cherry at Manchester University, which aims to determine whether Gulf veterans are experiencing greater ill-health than service personnel who did not take part in the conflict and to identify possible exposures and predisposing factors associated with any distinctive pattern of symptoms which may be found. This study will also investigate whether there is an increased incidence of cancer or mortality amongst Gulf veterans. Initial results are expected to be submitted for publication at around the middle of this year.