WHO calls for $20m for research on DU

Epidemiology is the weak leak in understanding depleted uranium, says the World Health Organisation, while offering to plug the gap.

By | February 6, 2001

LONDON Following a visit by four experts to the Balkans last week, the World Health Organization has estimated that $20 million is needed for epidemiological research on DU during the next four years.

If the money were forthcoming, WHO says it would undertake "in-depth epidemiological and toxicological studies" into the possible health effects of depleted uranium (DU) — and other possible toxic materials used in warfare — in the Balkans and the Gulf.

Although experts' current thinking is that the risk from exposure to DU is low, information is insufficient for firm conclusions, WHO says. "Evidence on the incidence of cancers needs to be strengthened… to draw any epidemiological conclusions," says Xavier Leus, Director for the Emergency and Humanitarian Action Department of WHO. "There is also very little information on other possible risk factors for civilians and the military that may be equally important. We need to examine possible connections between risk factors and health outcomes."

WHO is asking for $2 million of the $20 million to be spent in the next six months to:

• strengthen WHO's epidemiological expertise to develop and conduct field surveys

• provide technical support and equipment as needed to strengthen national surveillance and registry of non-communicable diseases including cancers

• deploy toxicologists, radiation and chemical experts, together with equipment, supplies and easier access to international reference centres in support of national capacities for diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases.

Thermo Scientific
Thermo Scientific

Popular Now

  1. Sex Differences in the Brain
    Features Sex Differences in the Brain

    How male and female brains diverge is a hotly debated topic, but the study of model organisms points to differences that cannot be ignored.

  2. DNA Repair Pioneers Win Nobel
    Daily News DNA Repair Pioneers Win Nobel

    Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich, and Aziz Sancar have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work elucidating mechanisms of DNA repair.

  3. Antiparasite Drug Developers Win Nobel
    Daily News Antiparasite Drug Developers Win Nobel

    William Campbell, Satoshi Omura, and Youyou Tu have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in recognition of their contributions to antiparasitic drug development.

  4. Brain Gain
    Features Brain Gain

    Young neurons in the adult human brain are likely critical to its function.

Bethyl Laboratories
Bethyl Laboratories
Life Technologies