Levels of uranium in urine from Swedish personnel that have been serving or will serve in the Swedish KFOR contingent. Part 2. Follow-up


  • Sandström Björn

Publish date: 2002-01-01

Report number: FOI-R--0581--SE

Pages: 15

Written in: Swedish


In March 2001, about 200 of the personnel in the homebound Swedish battalion in Kosovo were tested for their content of uranium in the urine. Surprisingly, their uranium levels were on average much lower than those of the control group, 6.9 ng/g creatinine vs 26.8 ng/g. The control group consisted of around 200 from the replacement battalion. The aim of the current study was to follow up this previous study and determine if the uranium levels of the Kosovo-bound personnel would decrease during their six months duty in Kosovo. In November 2001, shortly before their duty ended, 21 persons of those with high uranium levels initially were subjected to a second round of 24-h urine sampling. The second sampling resulted in much lower uranium levels for all tested persons. The uranium levels fell between 74 and 97 % during the six-month stay in Kosovo. On average, the decrease was 90 %, falling from 69 ng/g creatinine in March (in Sweden) to 6.7 ng/g in November (in Kosovo). It was foreseen that drinking water could be the main source of uranium. Therefore, tap water at Almnäs, where the replacement battalion stayed during the March sampling, was tested for uranium content. Furthermore, tap water from around ten of the biggest cities in Sweden were tested. Tap water from some other parts of Sweden of relevance to the study as well as mineral water from both Kosovo and Sweden, a popular brand of soda and three beer brands were also included in this test. The uranium content of the water samples was generally very low. Only a few tap waters, one Swedish mineral water and one of the tested beers contained significantly more (up to 100 times more) uranium than the mineral water the Swedish personnel were drinking in Kosovo. However, it would be necessary to consume around 10 liters per day of the mineral water with the highest uranium content to approach the internationally recognized guidance value of 100 microSv for the accepted equivalent annual dose from uranium in water. The current study does not shred any light on which other main soruces of uranium in Sweden there might exist. Finding those uranium sources is a future challenge.