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Gulf Veterans’ Illnesses Unit
Zone A, Floor 7, St Georges Court,
2-12 Bloomsbury Way,
London, WC1A 2SH
Direct dial
020 7305 4669
020 7305 4166
Our Reference:
30 September 2003
Professor David Coggon
Surg. Cdre Nick Baldock
Mr Ron Brown
Dr Chris Busby
Mr Ivor Connolly
Maj Gen (Retd.) R P Craig
Mr Jim Glennon
Dr David Lewis
Dr Gordon Paterson
Professor Brian Spratt
(Charles Williams
Air Cdre Simon Dougherty
Wg Cdr Charlie Wilcock
Mrs Brigid Rodgers
Mrs Janie Walker
Miss Rosie Wane
Dr George Etherington
Professor Ian Gilmore
Dr Muir Gray
Dr Gideon Henderson
Mr Neville Higham
Professor Malcolm Hooper
Dr Len Levy
Dr Margaret Spittle
Dr Hilary Walker
Mr Alan Duncan
Ox Uni

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Item Discussion
Decisions Actions
(Action date)
a) The Chairman welcomed Maj Gen (Retd.) R P Craig to his first meeting of
the Oversight Board.
b) The Chairman explained that the main business of the meeting would be:
i. To update members on the tendering exercise for the main testing and
decide the way forward; and
ii. To hold a final discussion on the second pilot study in preparation for a
separate meeting with the laboratory representatives scheduled to follow
the DUOB.
Minutes of last meeting
a) One minor grammatical correction was agreed by the Board.
Action 12.1 Secretary to finalise minutes of 11
DUOB and circulate
Matters arising from last meeting
i. Discrepancy in Pilot Study Reports
a) The secretary was unaware of an outstanding action and was asked to look
into it. [Post-meeting note: 10
meeting item 4a – possible discrepancy
between two tables in one of the laboratory reports.]
Action 12.2 Secretary to investigate possible discrepancy
ii. Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters (CERRIE)
a) Dr Busby said that DU would be discussed by CERRIE at its meeting in
January 2004.
iii. DUOB Terms of Reference (TOR)
a) The secretary confirmed that the TOR had been dated.
b) The Chairman confirmed that he had written to the Minister, Ivor Caplin MP,
concerning a possible extension to the role of the Oversight Board. [Copies of
the Minister’s reply were circulated at the meeting.] The Minister had
suggested that he meet with Professor Coggon. However, the Minister did not
wish the Board to undertake formal oversight of DU testing arising from the
2003 conflict in Iraq and did not wish to extend the retrospective urinary
uranium test developed for veterans of the Balkans and 1991 Gulf war to
personnel involved in Op TELIC (the UK component of the 2003 conflict in
Iraq). Professor Coggon said that he felt the view on this might change with
time. Dr Busby said he believed that the decision was unacceptable and the
matter should be pursued.
iv. Op TELIC personnel DU intake research
a) Mrs Rodgers said it had been decided that research into the urinary uranium
levels of UK military personnel deployed in the 2003 Iraq conflict would be
carried out as part of broader post-TELIC health research by Professor Simon
Wessely’s group at King’s College London. She had written to Professors
Coggon and Spratt and to Dr Etherington to ask them to assist Professor
Wessely with the DU aspects of the work.

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b) Professor Coggon confirmed that he had been asked to collaborate with the
King’s College team. He said that there was some urgency to the work
because of the inevitable fall off in urinary uranium concentration over time.
The study protocol would be drawn up mainly by the three DUOB members.
The Oversight Board as a whole would have the opportunity to comment on
the protocol, but would not have the authority to veto it. Professor Spratt said
he was pleased with the decision and felt that the study would make a useful
addition to the literature.
c) Mr Glennon asked for it to be minuted that he had not been told about the
decision to place the Op TELIC DU study with King’s. He felt that all
members of the DUOB should be involved. The Chairman responded that
everything was totally open. The letters had gone out only a matter of days
before the meeting and the matter was now being discussed. He could not see
that there was a problem. Dr Paterson expressed his contentment with the
d) Mr Connolly enquired about the timescale. Professor Coggon said that the
study was to take place early in the new year (2004). The KCL team would be
visiting major military centres. The DU study was additional to the main
elements of their work, and it was crucial to co-ordinate it properly with them.
Professor Spratt commented that knowledge of the extent of DU exposure on
the battlefield had long been wanted, and thus the study would be a positive
e) Dr Busby said that the DUOB existed in part for the purpose of external
credibility. He was concerned about a large portion of the DU research going
to a psychiatrist; and asked why neither he nor Professor Hooper had been
invited to advise Professor Wessely. He said that there was a lack of trust in
‘establishment’ figures, and people outside would not believe the results of
research carried out in the way proposed.
f) The Chairman explained that the study had to be handled separately from
other activities connected with DU because it was part of a larger post-TELIC
health investigation for which the DUOB was not competent. The wishes of
the Minister were clear. The Oversight Board existed to oversee DU research
arising from the 1991 Gulf war and Balkans deployments.
g) Maj Gen Craig was concerned that the Institute of Naval Medicine (INM) was
seeking accreditation for urinary uranium analysis. He felt that as a MoD
laboratory, INM would not have credibility. Professor Coggon explained that
the INM laboratory would be involved in biological monitoring, not in the Op
TELIC DU study or analysis of historical DU exposure. Dr Busby said that he
did not want INM involved at all.
h) Dr Busby enquired why Professor Spratt and Dr Etherington had been chosen.
Mrs Rodgers replied that both were scientists with relevant experience and
i) Professor Coggon said that Dr Busby and the other members of the Board
would be able to comment on the design of the questionnaire used in the KCL
DU study. Professor Spratt said that the questionnaire would be concerned
with exposure only, not health. Dr Busby said that there was anecdotal
evidence of health problems among Op TELIC veterans, and therefore state of
health should be included. He asked to see the health data being collected (in
other ways) from the TELIC personnel. The Chairman felt that this was an
unreasonable request; Dr Paterson said that the information would be
medically confidential. Dr Busby pointed out that it could be anonymised, as
he required only statistical data.

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j) Mr Glennon expressed concern about collaboration of DUOB members with
Professor Wessely, whom he said the veterans did not trust. The Chairman
asked who could be called upon to do work of this kind if all scientists
associated with the MoD were excluded. Dr Busby proposed Professor
Hooper. Mr Glennon suggested that his organisation might withdraw from the
DUOB if its wishes were not respected.
v. Main testing contract tender evaluation
a) The Chairman confirmed that a marking scheme had been produced and used
to assess the tenders. [Details were discussed later in the meeting.]
vi. Information for veterans and GPs
a) The Chairman confirmed that he had drafted advice for use after negative
urinary DU test results. This had been modified on the basis of comments
b) Mr Brown asked whether the reference to normal uranium levels meant that
the advice could be given only after completion of the normative values study.
Professor Coggon replied that enough was already known for some
approximate bounds to be put on “normal”. Mr Brown then asked about the
situation if an individual showed a natural uranium isotope ratio but
abnormally high total uranium concentration. Professor Coggon said that
separate advice would be needed in that case. Mr Brown suggested it should
be made clear for whom the draft advice was intended.
c) Mr Connolly queried whether a large DU exposure that had occurred ten
years before the test could really be ruled out on the strength of a negative
result. Professor Coggon thought that it could. Mr Glennon asked whether
that included lung burden. Professor Spratt said that it did, as shown by the
Durakovic paper (“Estimate of the time zero lung burden of Depleted
Uranium in Persian Gulf war veterans by the 24-hour urinary excretion and
exponential decay analysis”, Military Medicine, 168, 8:600, 2003). Mr Brown
said that the Durakovic approach to estimation of lung burden had been
satisfactory, in as much as it suggested broadly similar intakes to those
predicted by a number of theoretical assessments.
d) Professor Coggon said that within the Board only the likelihood of health
consequences from small internal exposures to DU was contentious, and the
difference of opinion on that issue was mentioned in the draft advice. Dr
Busby said that he was content. He added, however, that without an autopsy it
was not possible to know for certain that an individual showing low urinary
uranium concentration did not have an insoluble depot of DU lodged
somewhere in their body.
e) Professor Spratt asked whether it were necessary to report the total uranium
concentration in addition to the presence or absence of DU. Professor Coggon
said that as the value would have been measured, it would have to be
disclosed. Some advice on the interpretation and possible consequences
would also have to be given. Professor Coggon expressed his gratitude to Dr
Busby for the assistance he had provided in the choice of appropriate
f) Mr Connolly asked whether measurements could be affected by past medical
treatments, such as diuretic flushing. Professor Coggon said that diuretics
should affect only the DU fraction in solution, and not any insoluble reservoir
of material.

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g) Maj Gen Craig asked if any work had been published on DU levels in autopsy
tissue. Professor Spratt was not aware of any. However, it was felt that the
Americans might be doing something in this area. The Chairman asked that
the MoD make enquiries.
Action 12.3 Secretary to request autopsy information from the USA
h) Professor Coggon said that he would revise the draft advice again.
Action 12.4 Chairman to amend the draft advice on ‘negative’ test results
i) Mr Glennon remarked that from the point of the view of the recipient, the
advice was hardly unambiguous. Mr Brown agreed. Professor Spratt said the
DUOB might be keen to tell a veteran who had been tested that they had
nothing to worry about, but could not, since that was a matter of scientific
dispute. Dr Busby agreed, and said that a book could be written on the
possible consequences of low-level DU exposure.
j) The Chairman asked if the Board wanted a stronger negative statement. Mr
Brown suggested saying that people with higher levels of DU contamination
were still healthy after 12 years. Professor Coggon said that would be
unacceptable to the veterans’ organisations. He added that the test results
would be sent to the individual’s GP (provided permission were given), so
there should be scope for veterans to discuss the meaning of their results with
their doctor. Veterans would of course also be free to consult Dr Busby and
others for further advice if they wished. The equivocal wording of the draft
was a compromise, but probably the best that could be achieved.
k) Dr Paterson said that people tended to think a negative result meant no risk at
all, but that was not the case. He was therefore comfortable with the
compromise. Professor Spratt said that the orthodox scientific view should be
put first. Dr Busby said he was happy with that, since it would give his
minority view the last word.
vii. Kuwaiti cancer registry
a) The Chairman said that he had emailed a request about information from the
Kuwaiti cancer registry and was awaiting a response.
viii. Age data on Gulf war veterans
a) Dr Busby said that he still required an age and gender breakdown of (1991)
Gulf war veterans by 5-year interval up to age 80. Mrs Rodgers said that an
analysis of cancer figures could not be released before publication of the
MacFarlane paper. [The paper in question is a cancer mortality and morbidity
study of the entire Gulf deployment.]
Action 12.5 Secretary to provide Dr Busby with age and gender data for the
1991 Gulf war veterans

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Pilot study results summary tables
a) The Chairman said that results in tabulated form had been received from the
pilot study laboratories, and that he had collated them with a summary text.
[The document had been circulated to all members of the Board]. He noted
that there were quite large differences in the concentration of the spiking
solution as measured by the three laboratories, and suggested that an
explanation should be sought at the wash-up meeting. Mr Brown said that at
less than 20%, he did not feel the differences were very significant with
regard to any potential health effects.
b) Professor Coggon said that the accuracy of the results seemed to be somewhat
lower than had been estimated by the laboratories, and he thought some
sources of error had not been taken into account. However, the accuracy of
U ratio was very good: mostly within 1% for two of the
laboratories, and within 2% for the third. These were well within the
uncertainties reported by Durakovic.
c) Mr Brown said he would expect the two laboratories using identical
instruments and techniques to agree. In some instances the error ranges of
corresponding results did not overlap, so the actual uncertainties must have
been larger than stated and this was important when assessing the significance
of the results.
d) Professor Coggon said that the measurements of total uranium concentration
had been less accurate than the isotope ratios: generally they agreed to within
10-15%. The
U ratio was really only measured satisfactorily by one
laboratory, which had achieved quite good internal consistency. The
U ratio
was a difficult measurement.
e) Professor Coggon said there was no indication that the 400 ml urine samples
had given markedly more accurate results than the 100 ml samples. There was
also no systematic difference between urine samples before and after storage.
These observations could have significant bearing on the procedures used for
the main testing.
f) Dr Lewis wondered about the calculation of the quoted 95% confidence
intervals. Professor Coggon said they had not been derived in the way he
would do it, and clarification was needed from the laboratories. He had
looked at how individual results varied from the mean for each sample across
laboratories, and the confidence intervals seemed too narrow.
g) Dr Lewis asked whether it was worthwhile keeping the
U measurement as
part of the test. Professor Spratt said that he would be happy with the
ratio only, since potential exposure of personnel to DU was not in question.
He suggested that the
U ratio be examined only as a confirmation in
ambiguous cases.
h) Mr Glennon stated that the veterans wanted the
U measurement retained as
a means of confirming the presence or otherwise of DU. Other Board
members questioned the scientific validity of that view. The Chairman ruled
that the Board would not yet decide on the matter.

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Update on screening programme contracts
i. Main testing contracts
a) The Chairman and secretary reported on the technical evaluation of the main
testing tenders. Seven organisations had been invited to tender and six had
done so. A technical assessment panel comprising Professors Coggon and
Hooper and Dr Henderson had met on August 12
and reached a conclusion,
which was subsequently supported in a separate evaluation by Dr Lewis.
b) The panel had rejected two of the tenders, which were considered technically
inadequate. The remainder were allocated scores against a range of technical
criteria. Professor Coggon said that in his view the lowest-scoring laboratory
was good enough to be involved in the programme, possibly in an
independent audit role. The secretary said that the MoD contracts branch had
written to each of the four acceptable tenderers, requesting clarification on a
number of points highlighted by the panel. Answers were awaited. [Post
meeting note: all responses have now been received.]
c) Dr Busby asked whether it was the intention to place contracts with three
laboratories or all four, and whether there would be sufficient testing capacity.
The Chairman said that the recommendation of the technical panel was to
award contracts to the three top-scoring laboratories. The promised total
capacity of those laboratories was 1300 samples per annum.
d) Mr Brown said that he felt the sample throughput promised was optimistic,
and wondered whether the Board should encourage the fourth laboratory to
resubmit. Dr Busby supported that idea. Dr Paterson remarked that the MoD
could not work outside its formal contract procedures. Mr Brown reminded
the Board that the normative value study would be adding to the number of
samples for analysis.
e) Mr Connolly asked about the order in which veterans’ samples would be
tested. The secretary said that the Board had yet to decide on a procedure for
accepting people into the programme and arranging the test. However, he
thought it most likely that the tests would happen according to the order in
which people came forward for them.
ii. Healthcare provider
a) The secretary said that two companies had been invited to tender, but only
one had done so. One company decided not to participate on the grounds that
the activity required was not its core business. The sole tender received was
technically assessed on August 29
by a panel comprising Professors Coggon
and Hooper (in person) and Dr Paterson (by correspondence). The panel
wanted clarification on a number of points in the bid, and the MoD contracts
branch wrote to request this from the company. Subsequently the company
withdrew its offer, saying that it had underestimated the extent of the
requirement and did not have the necessary resources.
b) Professor Coggon explained that the company had no experience in handling
samples for uranium analysis and lacked advisory expertise in radiation
medicine and toxicology. However, the logistics arrangements had looked
satisfactory, and the panel had been willing to help the company identify
suitable experts. Professor Coggon stressed that the MoD had actively
searched for potential contractors and discussed the requirement with several
organisations. There appeared to be no-one in the market with all the
attributes needed. Therefore the Board must rethink. One possible way
forward was to place contracts with a number of regional NHS occupational

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health departments for the basic sample collection; and get another
organisation for the central co-ordination role and dealing with the results.
The DUOB itself could help with finding suitable experts to advise on the
interpretation of test results.
c) Professor Coggon suggested that it would be useful at this stage to carry out a
‘pilot’ exercise with, say, 30 veterans in a single geographical area in order to
test the procedures. Spot samples of urine as well as 24 hour collections could
be requested. Analysis would be carried out by more than one laboratory and
the results from the spot samples would be compared with those from the 24
hour samples. A similar comparison could be done as part of the civilian
normative values study. If the spot results proved to be as good as those from
the 24 hour collections in both cases, the logistics of the main testing
programme could be greatly simplified. Professor Coggon recommended this
approach to the Board. He said it would provide extra useful information and,
importantly, get the testing programme started.
d) Dr Lewis said that spot samples must definitely be ratioed to creatinine.
Professor Coggon agreed.
e) Dr Busby said that the Board might as well invite all the veterans who wanted
a test in the area concerned to participate in the pilot. He had no objection to
the proposal and considered it a good way forward. The geographical area
could be chosen on the basis of how many veterans there were to be tested in
various parts of the country. Professor Coggon said that for practical reasons,
London would be the easiest area.
f) Mr Glennon said that he had reservations about the proposal, and wanted to
discuss it with the members of his organisation. Professor Coggon said that
participants in a pilot exercise would gain the advantages of having their tests
done earlier than most and multiply analysed. The drawback was that more
would have to be asked of them, in giving both 24 hour and spot samples.
g) Dr Paterson supported the proposal. He said it would be embarrassing for the
Board if contracts had been let with the analytical laboratories but no samples
were being collected. He also felt that the Occupational Health department
involved in a pilot exercise could be asked to continue into the main
h) The Chairman asked whether Dr Paterson would be willing to take on the
advisory role in relation to a limited pilot of testing in veterans . Dr Paterson
declined, saying that he did not have all the specialised expertise required and
the job should preferably be done by one person. Mr Brown said that it would
not be possible to find a single individual able to advise expertly on all
aspects. The Chairman suggested that alternatively a panel of members drawn
from the DUOB might undertake the work.
i) Mr Glennon asked that the proposed way ahead for the healthcare provision
be discussed at the next Oversight Board meeting. He was uncomfortable at
the way, as he saw it, the subject was being pushed. Dr Paterson asked Mr
Glennon to state his concerns. Mr Glennon replied that the proposal was too
close to the official ‘side’, and differed from the protocol agreed by the Board.
j) Dr Busby asked who would carry out the administrative functions. Professor
Coggon said that either members of the DUOB or the Occupational Health
department could write to the participating veterans.
k) Maj Gen Craig said that the proposal made eminent sense. The information
obtained from a pilot exercise could change totally what happened next. Dr
Lewis said the proposal was a good idea, but an area must be chosen where

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the background uranium concentration was low so that any DU was not
masked. London would be satisfactory.
l) Professor Coggon suggested that St. Thomas’, Guy’s, and King’s hospitals
would be a good starting point. Dr Paterson said that the Board should try to
deal with the matter by correspondence before the next meeting. Professor
Coggon said that if the veterans’ representatives were unhappy with the
proposal, they would need to suggest an alternative plan in order not to
compromise the programme.
m) The secretary reported that the MoD contracts branch had been trying to
identify an organisation that might take on the ‘central’ co-ordinating
function. The Department of Health had been contacted for advice and had
suggested the Health Protection Agency. The agency had declined since its
remit was public health issues only, and in turn had suggested the NRPB. Dr
Busby and Mr Glennon responded that the NRPB would be totally
unacceptable to the veterans. [Post meeting note: The NRPB advised MoD
contracts branch that it could not undertake work of this kind.]
n) The Chairman said that it should not be difficult to find a suitable
organisation. Suggestions were welcome.
Action 12.6 DUOB members to suggest potential contractors for the central
co-ordination and advisory function
o) Dr Busby said that the ‘pilot’ exercise should simply be the first stage of the
main testing programme. Mr Connolly said that no answer from the veterans’
side on the acceptability of the ‘pilot’ proposal was likely until the return of
Professor Hooper. The Chairman said that Professor Hooper was already
aware of the plan and appeared to be content with it. Maj Gen Craig said that
there would be a big advantage in using spot samples.
p) Mr Brown asked how veterans for a pilot exercise would be recruited. The
Chairman replied that GVIU had a list of names and addresses of people who
had enquired about the test; in addition, perhaps the veterans’ organisations
could assist. The Chairman stressed that the veterans’ representatives must be
comfortable with what was done.
q) Mr Connolly said that a meeting of the NGV&FA would be needed in Hull to
discuss the proposal. He asked whether the MoD could offer support by
reimbursing the members’ travel costs. Mrs Rodgers said this was unlikely.
[Post meeting note: The matter is under consideration by the MoD.]
r) Due to shortage of time, the Chairman deferred discussion on the purpose and
choice of the “independent third party”.
iii. Civilian normative values study
a) Professor Coggon explained that an organisation specialising in occupational
medicine had been invited to tender for the normative values study and had
done so. However, the protocol the organisation had put forward, which
involved using hospital inpatients, was more elaborate and expensive than
anticipated. Again, the logistics of the work would be much simpler if spot
samples could be used.
b) Professor Coggon had met staff from the prospective contractor and suggested
breaking the study into two parts. The first part (“A”) would involve
collecting both a combined 24 hour urine sample and a series of spot samples
over a second period of 24 hours. The results of the analyses would then be
compared and the main study (part “B”) designed accordingly. Even if a 24
All members

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hour collection proved to be necessary, the contractor could write in advance,
inviting participation from people with forthcoming outpatients’
appointments, rather than rely on inpatients. This would be more efficient
than the original proposal. If a spot sample were acceptable, so much the
better. Professor Coggon reported that the staff were open to the new idea,
and the MoD was exploring its contractual aspects.
c) Dr Busby said he agreed with the use of outpatients. It was not perfect, but
probably the best practical option. Maj Gen Craig remarked that the NHS had
very few convalescent inpatients nowadays in any case: people tended to be
admitted to hospital immediately before surgery and discharged very quickly
d) Maj Gen Craig asked whether the Occupational Health world had established
any time of day excretion profiles for heavy metals. Other members of the
Board had no firm information on the subject. However, Dr Busby made the
point that taking a bath tended to increase the excretion of lead due to the
equilibration of internal and external cell pressures.
Information to Veterans/GPs
a) Dr Paterson said that the College of Health (CoH) had now convened a focus
group of veterans that had scrutinised the draft information sheets. He
suggested that instead of the original plan of ‘basic’ and ‘advanced’ versions,
there should be a single document with a more detailed annex. Revised drafts
were now awaited from the CoH.
a) Professor Coggon said he had agreed with Professor Hooper that he
(Professor Coggon) would prepare the next draft. The action therefore rested
with him.
a) The Chairman said that contracts would be let with the analytical laboratories
within a few weeks. Subject to contractual acceptability, the go-ahead should
also be given to the prospective occupational medicine contractor for the first
stage of the normative values study on the same timescale. With regard to the
healthcare function, feedback was required from the veterans’ representatives;
but preliminary work to identify Occupational Health departments and other
potential collaborators could proceed immediately. The whole process would
probably take about two months.
b) Professor Coggon requested nominations from the Board for the expert
advisory role. Dr Busby offered himself, asserting that as low-dose radiation
effects amounted to a new area of medicine, there were no established
experts. Professor Coggon said that really someone with a medical
background was needed.
c) Professor Coggon said that the communication tools would not be needed
until after the pilot exercise (if done). It was still possible for the test
programme to begin before the end of 2003.

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DU background and scientific issues
i. Chromosomal aberration
a) Dr Busby reported that the July meeting of CERRIE had involved a
discussion with contributors from around the world on the validity of the
ICRP radiological hazard model. It emerged that the chairman of the
European Committee on Radiation Risks (ECRR) had written on chromosome
damage in the 1980s. Good correlation was observed between the amount of
damage and the external radiation dose. When applied to the Schott results,
the implied dose was about 50 mSv: which in turn implied the presence of a
depot of uranium within the body. The dose was not consistent with the ICRP
b) Dr Busby went on to explain that absorption of all gamma radiation is
proportional to the fourth power of the atomic number. Thus uranium, with its
high atomic number, absorbs the radiation strongly, converting its energy into
photo-electrons. He suggested that most of these would be re-absorbed within
the bulk of a substantial mass of uranium; but from fine particles (less than 3
microns) lodged in the body, electrons at an energy level below about
100 keV might reach surrounding tissue, creating a much higher local field.
Dr Busby said there was some controversy about the influence of particle size.
It was claimed that the effect disappeared at very small particle size, though
he felt this observation could be an artefact.
c) The Chairman requested the CERRIE position on the outlined theory. He said
the Oversight Board was interested in new ideas and any experimental data
that supported them. There was obviously a good deal of uncertainty.
d) Dr Busby said that he wanted research to be done on chromosomal
aberrations. Professor Spratt shared this view.
ii. Durakovic paper on retrospective estimation of DU exposure from urinary
uranium measurements
a) Professor Spratt said that of the eleven test subjects in the paper, six had given
a negative result, four had shown only a tiny lung burden of DU, and one had
shown a significant lung burden (in the range 1-5 mg). Professor Spratt did
not think it was valid to average the results as Durakovic had done.
b) Professor Coggon said that he found the Durakovic paper interesting.
Professor Spratt said the work suggested that the lung dose was actually a
good deal lower than might be expected for battlefield DU exposure.
c) Maj Gen Craig and Mr Brown discussed the work of the Bremen Institute.
Professor Spratt said that chromosomal aberrations should be assessed in
veterans showing various different levels of urinary DU.
iii. NERC research on DU in the environment
a) Professor Coggon asked about the role of the Natural Environment Research
Council (NERC) in regard to DU. Mrs Rodgers replied that the NERC had
been asked to call for proposals to carry out research on various aspects of
DU in the environment. It had issued the call a few weeks previously. NERC
involvement was described in the MoD’s DU research programme proposal,
which had been sent to the DUOB in early 2002. Professor Coggon asked for
the Board to be kept informed.
Action 12.7 MoD to report to the DUOB on the NERC research

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Depleted Uranium Workshop
a) Mr Brown stated that something would be said on each of the 13 topics in the
MoD’s DU research programme, although some might be very brief since
there had so far been little progress. Professor Spratt said that the biokinetic
modelling would be of most relevance to the Oversight Board.
b) Mr Glennon referred to what he called the “secret” meeting on the second day
of the workshop, and asked whether it would contain anything of interest to
the DUOB. Mr Brown replied that probably only the Operational Analysis on
possible replacements for DU munitions would be discussed.
c) Dr Busby requested an agenda for the first day of the workshop so that he
could decide whether attendance would be worthwhile.
Action 12.8 Secretary to provide Dr Busby with a workshop agenda
Date of next meeting
a) The next meeting was scheduled for Thursday November 20
b) The secretary was asked to canvass members for suitable meeting dates in
January and March 2004.
Action 12.9 Secretary to canvass DUOB for January and March dates
a) The Chairman referred to the transcript of the June 19
meeting of the Inter-
Parliamentary Gulf War Group. He had been disturbed to see that Professor
Hooper twice stated there were no plans for DU research by the Oversight
Board. This was not the case. It had always been the intention to apply the
retrospective test in research, and for the Board to be involved in the research.
b) Dr Busby said it was not his understanding that the DUOB would oversee the
research, but he was glad if this were the case. The Chairman said that the
Medical Research Council (MRC) was better equipped to review the detailed
science, but the Oversight Board would define the research questions. This
could be summarised as “we propose, the MRC vets”. The most appropriate
form for the ‘oversight’ had yet to be worked out. Dr Busby said he did not
accept that the DUOB lacked expertise on medical research questions. Dr
Paterson commented that the Board could not really “stand over” the research
c) Mr Glennon said it had been stated that chromosome research was outside the
remit of the DUOB. Professor Coggon replied that it depended on the
question being asked. It was not appropriate to use chromosomal aberration as
a measure of DU exposure, but to investigate it as a biological marker of
effects from exposure would be reasonable.
d) Mr Connolly said that emails from the secretariat had started requesting a
“digital signature”, and this was creating some problems. Mrs Rodgers
responded that unfortunately that was a feature of the MoD’s IT security
arrangements on external email and could not be switched off at source. Air
Cdre Dougherty explained to the Board how the digital signature could be
deactivated on the recipient’s computer.
e) Mr Connolly requested an update on the biological monitoring of Op TELIC
personnel. Mr Brown said that approximately 70 individuals had been tested
to date. Of these, 62 showed a urinary uranium level that was considered

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average for the southern UK (less than 30 ng l
); none had an exceptional
isotope ratio indicative of DU. A small number of personnel based in
Germany were found to have a natural isotope ratio, but a total uranium
concentration in their urine of several hundred nanograms per litre. The only
people in whom DU had so far been detected were those with “level 1”
exposure who had sustained shrapnel injuries in incidents with DU munitions.
Mr Brown added that of the 70 personnel tested, 24% had declared
themselves to have had level 1 exposure: but in most cases this did not
correspond to the exposure assessment made by their command.
f) Maj Gen Craig enquired whether the background uranium levels in northern
Germany were known. Mr Brown said he thought water drinking habits were
implicated. Personnel from the same camp had shown wide variation. All the
samples had been received from a single medical facility at Osnabruck.
g) The Chairman referred to a comment from veterans reported by Mr Connolly,
that journalists in Iraq seem to be able to obtain DU contamination results far
more quickly than the DUOB. He asked Mr Connolly to pass the message
back that measuring personal exposures more than 10 years retrospectively
was very different from environmental monitoring and that the Oversight
Board had a very much more complicated and exacting task.
All members
All observers