§ Mr. Alan Simpson
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of(a) the health risks and (b) actual health damage to people in Iraq arising from exposure to depleted uranium used for bombing. 
§ Mr. Spellar
I have been asked to reply.
The potential health risks of depleted uranium (DU) are well known. There is a radiation hazard, although DU is a low specific activity material as defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which means that its level of radioactivity is lower than most man-made radionuclides; and a chemical toxicity hazard, similar to that posed by other heavy metals such as lead.
As to actual health damage to the Iraqi people, we are aware that there have been suggestions in the media that the use of DU during the Gulf conflict has caused an increase in ill-health in southern Iraq. We have not seen any peer-reviewed epidemiological research data on the people living in this region to support these claims.
The Department for International Development has already indicated that it will consider funding for projects proposed by the World Health Organisation to improve epidemiological data on and health care planning in Iraq—provided that these meet DFID's project criteria. If implemented, these projects should provide valuable information on the health needs of the Iraqi population.