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Monday, October 15, 2012

Sad irony: America campaigns pro/anti abortion, U.S. maims/kills Iraqi generations

“Metal Contamination, Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities”Unusual number of birth defects in many bombarded Iraqi cities raises international concern, relevant studies published, Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Volume 89, Number 5 (2012), 937-944, DOI: 10.1007/s00128-012-0817-2
Excerpt, editing by Carolyn Bennett

Staff in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital has been witnessing a pattern of increase (17-fold rise in occurrence of) congenital birth defects. Many studying these phenomena suspect that pollution created by the bombing of Iraqi cities has caused the current birth defect crisis in that country.

A yearly account of the occurrence and types of birth defects, between 2003 and 2011, in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital, was reported.

Between October 1994 and October 1995, the number of birth defects per 1,000 live births in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital was 1.37.

In 2003, the number of birth defects in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital was 23 per 1,000 live births.

Within less than a decade, the occurrence of congenital birth defects increased by an astonishing 17-fold in the same hospital.

Air and water pollution, exposure to toxic metals, and exposure to persistent and volatile organics have been linked to adverse pregnancy and developmental outcomes (Landrigan et al. 2004; Bocskay et al. 2005).

Birth defectsFallujah 

Embryo, lifelong harm

Those who are pregnant and their growing fetuses are especially vulnerable to exposure to pollutants.

Even slight perturbations caused by chemical exposures during sensitive periods of fetal development can lead to increased risks of disease throughout the life of an individual (Sutton et al. 2010).

Iraq’s central city, Fallujah; Iraq’s southern city, Al Basrah

These areas had been targeted for repeated bombardments by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1991 and 1995. Various metals are contained in U.S. small arms ammunition, and are contained in U.S. bombs (Departments of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, Joint Technical Bulletin, 1998; U.S. Department of the Army Technical Manual, 1990).

Intermittent bombing of populated cities in Iraq has occurred since 1991 and most significant was the bombardment of Iraq’s central city, Fallujah, and its southern city, Al Basrah.

In 2004, Fallujah was heavily bombed in 2004 and, subsequently, unusual numbers of birth defects have surfaced in that city.

Birth defectsAl Basrah 
In March and April 2003, Al Basrah, similar to Fallujah, was heavily bombed; after the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, the medical staff in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital have been witnessing a pattern of increase in congenital birth defects.

Following bombardment, severe contamination of water, soil, and air can occur. Metal contamination of the public after bombardment has been reported (Jergovic et al. 2010).

Jergovic et al. (2010) had examined the blood serum metal content of the Croatian population in areas with ‘‘moderate fighting’’ versus ‘‘heavy fighting’’ and found significantly higher levels of metals in populations from areas with heavy fighting.

It is old knowledge that exposure to chemicals can harm human reproduction. Ancient Romans were aware that lead (Pb) poisoning can cause miscarriage and infertility (Gilfillan 1965; Retief and Cilliers 2006).

War on Iraq
Today it is well established that human pregnancy and fetal development are susceptible to parents’ environmental exposure to chemical, biological and physical agents (Mattison 2010).

Present knowledge on the effects of prenatal exposure to metals, combined with our results, suggests that the bombardment of Al Basrah and Fallujah may have exacerbated public exposure to metals, possibly culminating in the current epidemic of birth defects. Many studying these events and conditions “suspect that pollution created by the bombardment of Iraqi cities has caused the current birth defect crisis in that country (Al-Hadithi et al. 2012).”

Sources and notes

“Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities”
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Volume 89, Number 5 (2012), 937-944, DOI: 10.1007/s00128-012-0817-2

M. Al-Sabbak; S. Sadik Ali; O. Savabi; G. Savabi; S. Dastgiri; M. Savabieasfahani mozhgan@umich.edu

Author Affiliations
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Al Basrah Maternity Hospital, Al Basrah Medical School, P.O. Box 1633, Basrah, Iraq; Department of Prosthodontics, School of Dentistry, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran; National Public Health Management Center, School of Medicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran; School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, EHS Room Number M6016, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029, USA

“The recognition that birth defects reported from Iraq are mainly folate-dependent,” the researchers concluded, “offers possible treatment options to protect at-risk populations.”


FOLIC ACID DEFICIENCY ANEMIA (also called folate deficiency anemia)

This is a type of anemia that results from a deficient intake of the vitamin folic acid (folate).

Folic acid, a B vitamin, is needed for the formation of heme, the pigmented, iron-containing portion of the hemoglobin in red blood cells (erythrocytes).

A deficient intake of folic acid impairs the maturation of young red blood cells, which results in anemia. The disease also is characterized by leukopenia (a deficiency of white blood cells, or leukocytes), by thrombocytopenia (a deficiency of platelets), by ineffective blood formation in the bone marrow, and by progressive gastrointestinal symptoms, such as sore tongue, fissures at the corners of the mouth, diarrhea, inflammation of the pharynx or esophagus, and ulceration of the stomach and intestine.

Folic acid deficiency develops over a period of several months and may result from a diet that is low or lacking in foods containing folic acid. (Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia, Britannica notes).

Al Basrah

Basra (Al Baṣrah) is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran; Iraq’s main port and its second largest and most populous city after the capital, Baghdad. Al Basrah played an important role in early Islamic history and was built in 636 CE or 14 AH.


For its more than 200 mosques in the city and surrounding villages, Fallujah (al-Falūǧah) is known within Iraq as the ‘city of mosques’. It is situated in Iraq’s Al Anbar province, 69 kilometers/43 miles west of Baghdad, on the Euphrates River, and dates from Babylonian times.  (Wikipedia notes)

Old civilizations

IRAQ: a country of southwestern Asia whose lands in ancient times were known as Mesopotamia (Land between the Rivers), a region whose extensive alluvial plains (largely flat landform) gave rise to some of the world’s earliest civilizations, including those of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, and Assyria. 
“Over the centuries numerous empires dominated Mesopotamia, the fertile land now called Iraq. 
 “Located between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, its capital city of Baghdad was at one time the most significant commercial and cultural center in the entire Muslim world.”
Britannica and Worldatlas notes


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