British troops set to sue over 'Balkan War Syndrome'

LONDON, Apr 17, 2000 -- (AFP) Twelve British troops who served in the former Yugoslavia are planning to sue the Defence Ministry after suffering "Balkans war syndrome" health problems, the Sunday Times reported.

Doctors link the symptoms to exposure to depleted uranium in anti-tank missiles used during the 1999 Kosovo conflict, the weekly said.

It said research had shown the heavy metals caused health problems leading to cancer, neurological and immune system defects and reproductive system damage.

Around 10,500 Britons were sent to Kosovo to help in peacekeeping missions following the NATO air bombardment of Serbia.

If legal action is successful, it could pave the way for hundreds more claims.

The move follows similar action by veterans of the 1991 Gulf War who have complained of "Gulf War syndrome," chronic health problems they say were caused by a cocktail of vaccines designed to protect them from biological warfare.

More than 100,000 Gulf War combatants, from the United States, Canada and Britain, have suffered a range of symptoms associated with the syndrome, which has yet to be fully understood.

Original article