Birth defects have risen since US Falluja operation

#1
A paediatrician and parents have told the BBC of a high level of birth defects among children in Falluja, Iraq, blaming weapons used by the US.

Six years ago, in 2004, there were fierce battles as US forces subdued two uprisings in the town.

Now, one hospital doctor told the BBC that they see two or three cases of birth defects each day.

The US military says it is not aware of any official reports showing an increase in birth defects in the area.
Full article
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
There's plenty if information on the potential issues regarding DU ammunition, and the as-yet unexplained 'Gulf War Syndrome'.

It may be a legacy of the wars we have got involved in, but then again, it may be completely unassociated with the current level of birth defects.
 
#3
Is there anything more than anecdotal evidence about this?
 
#4
Is Fallujah on the A48? That could explain the six finger thing...
 
#5
Of course the US will have been firing bucket loads of DU rounds, very effective against buildings, soft targets etc, in general the type of warfare and enemy in Faluja.
 
#7
mac1 said:
are they sure it's not everyone marrying their cousins or something?
That's Cinderford you're thinking of.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
offhand said:
Of course the US will have been firing bucket loads of DU rounds, very effective against buildings, soft targets etc, in general the type of warfare and enemy in Faluja.
I believe the A10 fires DU rounds, and tanks can too, and I also believe that both were used in the attack on Falluja.

That's not to say that this is the cause of the birth defects, but it might be. On the other hand, you know, war and battles are a time of high stress for civvy women, maybe that's the cause - stress.
 
#9
This smacks of some Iraqi version of "no win, no fee"
 
#10
mistersoft said:
mac1 said:
are they sure it's not everyone marrying their cousins or something?
That's Cinderford you're thinking of.
Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery...you smooth-tongued bast4rd!
 
#11
There is some suggestion that potentially contaminated waste might have entered the water supply after the wreckage was ... bulldozed into the river. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/wor...irth-defects-Fallujah-rise-U-S-operation.html


However, it's also worth remembering that Saddam had a LOT of nasty chemicals industry, and didn't listen to the Health and Safety Executive.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iraq/fallujah_2.htm

"Fallujah II was one of Iraq's principal CW precursor production facilities before the Gulf war. In the last few years the Iraqis upgraded the facility and brought in new chemical reactor vessels and shipping containers with a large amount of production equipment. They expanded chlorine output far beyond pre-Gulf war production levels—capabilities that can be diverted quickly to CW production. Iraq sought to purchase CW agent precursors and applicable production equipment and tried to hide the activities of the Fallujah plant.

Before the Gulf War Iraq depended on importing-specialized equipment-and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline. Chlorination normaly is accomplished during several stages of purification, including the inital treatment stage to prevent the equipment from liming and to kill pathogens just prior to storing the fully treated water. The chlorine used in most plants is either sodium hypochlorite, a liquid, or calcium hypochlorite, a powder. If they are equipped with injectors, low-capacity plants can use chlorine gas directly. At the time of the Gulf War, Iraq's plant in Fallujah and the PC-I petrochemical plant at Basrah produced sodium hypochlorite and, as a by-product, caustic soda, which was used to adjust the PH of water supplies. Normally, both locations produced relatively small quantities of chlorine for industrial and some municipal use; chlorine for municipal supplies also was imported. [SOURCE: IRAQ WATER TREATMMENT VULNERABILITIES DIA WASHINGTON DC - 22 JAN 91]


Some dodgy maps on this:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iraq/fallujah.htm
suggest that the Fallujah CW plant cluster weren't that far away from the town.
Inspection showed up a lovely mix of stuff, 'herbicides' ' pesticides', phenols and aniline (strangely carcinogenic, and used in rocket fuel)
I'd check the local groundwater and wells for dumped chemicals before I'd start blaming DU.

PS- We ought to know about Fallujah II. We built it in the 1980's!
http://www.mail-archive.com/thepowerhourflashstats@thepowerhour.com/msg00680.html
 
#12
Thanks Mr D.
There is some medical research that links these kind of birth defects to agricultural pesticides (not a million miles away from CW agents), but there is also the possibility that there were other things being produced in the area.
http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/s/971203_sites.htm
"Fallujah II: This facility produced chemical weapons precursors destined for the Muhanna site. Products included chlorine, phosphorous trichloride and oxychlorode, thiony1 chloride, and with high probability two direct nerve agent precursors. The site was bombed during the Gulf War. Remaining precursors and equipment were transferred to the Muthanna site for destruction under the supervision of the Chemical Destruction Group. Located 65 km WNW of Baghdad."

Perhaps any industrial chemists in the area should start looking for these in the tap water. This might have been released in the 1990's, and been filtering into the system for years, and only started showing effects in the mid 2000's, coincidentally after the Fallujah battle.
 
#13
What worrys me is the report from Iran I saw on Aunty Beeb. There was too much supposition and very little substance.

The one indicator I would have asked for was "What is the RATE OF CHANGE in birth defects", and ask for substantiation. If there is insufficient data from before the battles, tough.

DU is nasty, but so is the NBC (ok, BC) weaponry that Saddam had at his disposal near to the city.
 
#14
Some years ago I was involved with a survey in Nepal to do with birth defects, as the Sherpa women drink water that is in most cases Glacier Melt off, now this has none of the nutriants and minerals that we get from our water. So there was a High incidence of cretinisem, and at the time it was common practice to throw any deformed children into the Dhude Kosi river but we had no base line to work from as we had no idea just how many deformed births there were before we arrived,so our findings were not much use so we gave mineral suppliments in the form of injections to as many women as possible who were of child bearing age and this seemed to work,
 
#15
Tool said:
What worrys me is the report from Iran I saw on Aunty Beeb. There was too much supposition and very little substance.

The one indicator I would have asked for was "What is the RATE OF CHANGE in birth defects", and ask for substantiation. If there is insufficient data from before the battles, tough.

DU is nasty, but so is the NBC (ok, BC) weaponry that Saddam had at his disposal near to the city.
Well spotted. The problem of rate of change would require reliable stats from the local health organisations. These don't exist, so unless someone starts baselining data, it's all anecdotal and supposition.

The media are aware of Gulf War Syndrome, and Depleted Uranium, but are ignorant of the other environmental factors, and the impacts of decades of sanctions on public health in the run up to the last war.

What they have here is a story that might (or might not) be made up of parts of other stories.
DU might equal birth defects.
(It probably does. There's lots of research that says so. But so do other things, alone or in combination with DU. DU is radioactive, but it's also a heavy metal. They are toxic in their own right.)

OR the story could be :
Birth defects up.
Caused by: Chemicals, DU, other unknown factors
Aggravated by: sanctions and the collapse of public health services
and sanctions, and malnutrition amongst children in that time who are now reaching child bearing age.

But being media, they aren't qualified or interested enough to look beyond the juicy headline 'Filthy Capitalist USA Radioactive bullets kill babies'.

Mind you- Once you identify the problem, there's still the next issue: Who clears it up. And- Who pays?
 
#16
Listened to the report by Simpson on Radio 2, how nice to hear the BBC being un-biased,,,,,,,,as fcuking usual.
Why are the BBC interested in Fallujah, that was the yanks playground not ours.
Iraqis with 3 heads, 6 fingers on hands and 6 toes on feet, sounds like a re-make of Jake the Peg.
Glad to see no calls for the out-rage bus to be first paraded, unless its going to the Beeb, if it is then can you pick me at Highbridge,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,please.
 
#17
Chicken_George said:
Listened to the report by Simpson on Radio 2, how nice to hear the BBC being un-biased,,,,,,,,as fcuking usual.
Why are the BBC interested in Fallujah, that was the yanks
The report I saw was Simpson on BBC1. He was at pains to say that there was no direct evidence it was US DU (and the septics hadn't received OFFICIAL complaints), but it was the headline news on Prime Time morning TV.
 
#18
Havn't got the joy of TV, having to put up with the radio.
Just fcuking annoys me, the BBC seems to have a left-wing biased with its reporting, and if they ain't knocking the yanks its bloody Lord Ashcroft.

Come on BBC stop being the mouth-piece for ZANU NL.
 
#19
tropper66 said:
Some years ago I was involved with a survey in Nepal to do with birth defects, as the Sherpa women drink water that is in most cases Glacier Melt off, now this has none of the nutriants and minerals that we get from our water. So there was a High incidence of cretinisem, and at the time it was common practice to throw any deformed children into the Dhude Kosi river but we had no base line to work from as we had no idea just how many deformed births there were before we arrived,so our findings were not much use so we gave mineral suppliments in the form of injections to as many women as possible who were of child bearing age and this seemed to work,
A good example of environmental factors, and the risk of doing stuff without the baseline data.
'Classic' cretinism is caused by lack of Iodine in the diet, which knackers the thyroid gland, and causes the symptoms. This is quite common in many poor areas, and easily dealt with by diet supplements.
At the same time, small, inbred rural populations tend to have lots of genetic diseases, which the local population have probably got used to recognising, but is it made worse by poor diet, or just marrying your sister? And what happens if you have both things going on at the same time?

Like you say, without some baseline research before you start work, you can never be sure if you are dealing with the real problem or whether these problems are masking any other environmental factors. I suppose it doesn't help that all your possible data gets chucked in the river before you can ask it questions.

Incidentally, there's a lot of arsenic in the ground water in Nepal, so it was quite sensible of them to drink runoff. Swings and roundabouts, really. Arsenic poisoning vs weird looking kids-Take your pick.
 
#20
I heard the John Simpson report on the radio this morning and thought it was biased, somebody says birth defects have gone up and the cause is likely to have been American "highly specialised" weapons. Evidence of a causal connection? Nil. I know other posters have already said this but I would have thought it unlikely that DU would have been used extensively if at all against a non-armoured enemy in an urban environment.

The BBC website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8548707.stm) states:-

"British-based Iraqi researcher Malik Hamdan told the BBC's World Today programme that doctors in Fallujah were witnessing a "massive unprecedented number" of heart defects, and an increase in the number of nervous system defects.

She said that one doctor in the city had compared data about birth defects from before 2003 - when she saw about one case every two months - with the situation now, when, she saw cases every day.

Ms Hamdan said that based on data from January this year, the rate of congenital heart defects was 95 per 1,000 births - 13 times the rate found in Europe".

Surely a more useful comparison would be to compare rates with other areas of Iraq and/or the Middle East?
 

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