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Posted Wed Mar 17 2010: from Environmental Health News:
Depleted and enriched uranium affect DNA in different ways
Radiation is not uranium's only health concern, say researchers who report the less radioactive form of the metal can also damage DNA, but in a different way that could also lead to cancer... Meticulous research identifies for the first time how two main types of uranium - enriched and depleted - damage a cell's DNA by different methods. The manner - either by radiation or by its chemical properties as a metal - depends upon whether the uranium is processed or depleted. This study shows that both types of uranium may carry a health risk because they both affect DNA in ways that can lead to cancer. Why does it matter? Regulatory agencies determine safe uranium exposure based on the metal's radioactive effects. Currently, safe exposure levels for workers and military personnel are based on enriched uranium - which is the more radioactive form and is considered to have a higher cancer risk than depleted uranium. Uranium exposure has been shown to affect bone, kidney, liver, brain, lung, intestine and the reproductive system.
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