There has been long-standing concern about the possible health and environmental effects of depleted uranium (DU). In particular, its use in munitions has given rise to claims that it is implicated in various problems among both combatants and civilian populations in affected areas.
A number of expert reviews have examined the data and found no conclusive evidence of harm. However, these findings continue to be disputed by others. The International Coalition to ban Uranium Weapons contests the radiation exposure and dose estimation models used, and argues that DU weapons are a new source of contamination which requires additional scientific assessment. The European parliament in 2008 called for the Commission and others to support more scientific studies on depleted uranium and its effects, and for an environmental inventory of DU.
The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), which advises the Commission, was asked to review existing reports and the scientific literature and offer an opinion on the environmental and health risks posed by DU.