Bullet Containing Embedded Metal Fragments

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Wounds containing embedded metal fragments are not a recent phenomenon. However, the introduction of unique metal mixtures to the modern battlefield, as well as the insurgents use of improvised explosive devices, have resulted in the potential of embedded fragment wounds with materials whose toxicological properties are not well understood. The Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute was one of the first laboratories to study the long-term health effects of embedded fragments of military-relevant metals. Responding to concerns over the effects of wounds containing depleted uranium, the Institute developed a rodent model system to investigate this issue. As additional unique metal mixtures were incorporated into weapons systems, the…show more content…
One aspect that did not change was the use of lead in ammunition. In the 1900s other metals and metal mixtures were used to produce munitions. In response to the increased range of firearms and the military requirement to defeat hardened targets, copper, tungsten carbide, and steel found their way into munitions. Advances in medical care also resulted in increased survival rate of wounded individuals, many of whom now carried embedded metal fragments in their bodies. Standard surgical guidelines recommended leaving embedded fragments in place, unless they could be easily removed, to lessen the collateral tissue damage that surgery can inflict. In addition, there were few indications reported in the scientific literature to indicate that embedded metal fragments left in place were a health hazard in either the short- or long-term. There were, however, the occasional reports of adverse health effects resulting from the long time retention of lead fragments (Stromberg, 1990; Eylon et al., 2005). The effects were usually attributed to the solubilization of lead from the fragments, as symptoms usually abated once the fragment was surgically removed (Linden et al., 1982; Beazley and Rosenthal, 1984; Magos, 1994; Gerhardsson et al., 2002). RESEARCH ON DEPLETED URANIUM Increases in the ability of armored vehicles to withstand penetration by projectiles led to the search for more effective armor-penetrating munitions and one material proved to be superior,
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