Thursday, October 2, 2008

According to the VA I Have “Normal” Uranium Poisoning

I came home today to find a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs with my urine test results for depleted uranium. “Your total urine uranium level is within normal limits.” I had no idea there was such a thing as “normal limits” for uranium in a person's urine. This was not very reassuring.

The letter also said that there was not enough uranium in my urine sample to determine if it was from “natural sources” or depleted uranium sources. After some research, I learned that there is such a thing as “normal” uranium levels from “natural sources” like air, water, and the food we eat. Fortunately, “any health effects are associated with the total amount of uranium regardless of the of the source and therefore, your normal result does not have any health consequences related to it.” That is to say, no more consequences than for the average American who happens to have been exposed to depleted uranium in their food, water, and air.

My very healthy general distrust of the government prevents me from taking much comfort from any of this. I went to Iraq and crawled around wreckage of Iraqi military equipment as part of our training. Did I dodge a bullet on this one? Maybe. I have a “normal” level of uranium poisoning, but at least I'm in good company.