HL Deb 26 May 2004 vol 661 cc146-7WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Following recent reports concerning the radiation contamination from depleted uranium shells of United States troops serving in Iraq, what checks for radiation contamination are being undertaken by British service personnel; and what is their estimate of the number of British and Iraqi service personnel and civilians who may be similarly contaminated. [HL2444]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach)

The Ministry of Defence policy is to offer biological monitoring to all military personnel and MoD civilians on operations where depleted uranium was used. These personnel are offered a test for total uranium in the urine followed by a test for uranium isotopes in the urine if the test for total uranium gives anomalous results. The isotope test determines whether the uranium is depleted. The isotope test is offered straight away if personnel are known to have been exposed to DU or there is a high probability that they have been exposed. So far just under 300 personnel have taken up this offer and have been tested. Of those, only a small number have been found to be excreting DU in their urine. These are personnel who were involved in blue-on-blue incidents and have shrapnel injuries.

There is currently no way of reliably estimating the number of Iraqi civilians or service personnel who have been exposed to DU.