Senator Thomas P. Morahan, Chairman of the State Legislature's Armed Forces Committee, and a member of the New York State Senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security & Military Affairs Committee, announced thaton November 17, 2006, Governor Pataki signed into law legislation which will ensure that military personnel and veterans of New York State get the best screening and treatment for exposure to toxic and radioactive metal, particularly depleted uranium (D. U.).
Depleted uranium was widely used for the first time during the Gulf War to make anti-tank munitions and armor-plating for Abrams tanks. Exposure to depleted uranium has become a health problem for soldiers who have been struck by shrapnel containing uranium or who have inhaled uranium particles released by the combustion of depleted uranium weapons.
"This new law, which I sponsored in the Senate directs the State’s Division of Veterans’ Affairs to assist any military member or veteran in obtaining federal treatment services for exposure to depleted uranium. It also establishes a task force to study the health effects of exposure to hazardous materials, sets up a registry for those who may have been exposed, and will report on the effects of depleted uranium exposure," said Morahan, himself a veteran of the Korean Conflict.
It is believed that hundreds of U. S. personnel were exposed to D. U. during the Persian Gulf War. Experts fear even higher numbers of people have been exposed to toxic and radioactive metal in Iraq.