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Birth defects – the effects of depleted uranium on the city of Basra, Iraq

du_roundsIraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide” TruthOut  14 October 2014 By Dahr Jamail

“………..Basra   Iraq’s southern city of Basra was heavily bombarded with DU munitions by US warplanes during the 1991 war.

Al-Ali, an expert oncologist at the Basra Cancer Treatment Center, was heavily involved in working on two birth defect studies carried out in the wake of that war.

“The types of birth defects were hydrocephaly [an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain], anencephaly [the absence of a large part of the brain and the skull], cleft lip and phacomelia [loss of limbs],” al-Ali told Truthout. “Other consequences are the cancers which increased three-fold during the last two decades.”

He said that clusters of cancers occurring at higher incidence within the same family were another new phenomenon seen in Iraq only after the 1991 and 2003 wars.

“Other diseases related to effects of DU were the kidney failure of unknown cause and stone formation,” he added. “Respiratory problems like asthma and also myopathy and neuropathy are now very common as well.”

In Babil Province in southern Iraq, cancer rates have been escalating at alarming rates since 2003. Dr. Sharif al-Alwachi, the head of the Babil Cancer Center, blames the use of depleted uranium weapons by US forces during and following the 2003 invasion.

“The environment could be contaminated by chemical weapons and depleted uranium from the aftermath of the war on Iraq,” Alwachi told Truthout. “The air, soil and water are all polluted by these weapons, and as they come into contact with human beings they become poisonous. This is new to our region, and people are suffering here.”

According to a study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, there was a sevenfold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003.

In addition, never before has such a high rate of neural tube defects (“open back”) been recorded in babies as in Basra, and the rate continues to rise. According to the study, the number of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) cases among newborns is six times as high in Basra as it is in the United States.

Childhood cancer also appears to be unusually prevalent in Basra.

“We have noticed bouts of malignant tumors affecting children’s limbs,” an Iraqi doctor who has worked in various parts of the country for 20 years told Truthout. He requested anonymity for security reasons. “These malignancies are usually of very aggressive types and in the view of the shortage of facilities we are running in our hospitals they usually have a fatal outcome.”

His prognosis was grim.

“The only help we can provide to those children is amputation, which sometimes does nothing but prolonging their suffering, in addition to the great psychological impact on both the child and the parents,” he said. “We know that it is possible to save most of these children in specialized oncology centers by advanced salvage surgery, with the attendant chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Unfortunately, this seems to be a kind fantasy for our government and health administrations, which are currently busy with the large amount of trauma overwhelming our hospitals’ resources.”…….http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26703-iraqi-doctors-call-depleted-uranium-use-genocide

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October 15, 2014 - Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq

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