Research and analysis

Depleted uranium (DU): nephrotoxicity and urinary excretion

This report (HPA-RPD-025) describes studies concerning potential exposures to DU and its effects on the kidney.


HPA-RPD-025: influence of nephrotoxicity on urinary excretion of uranium

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


Measurements of urinary excretion were used to assess previous potential exposures to DU following its use in conflicts. High concentrations of uranium in kidneys are known to affect their function, and some studies of uranium biokinetics in rats have shown changes in the ratio of uranium urinary excretion to kidney concentration, at high uranium kidney concentrations.

A review of the scientific literature was carried out with particular attention paid to human experimental studies in which uranium solutions were intravenously injected. This report complements reports considering uncertainties in the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) respiratory tract model as applied to depleted uranium and the ICRP model that describes the behaviour of uranium after entry to the blood.

Published 1 June 2007