Friday, August 6, 2010

Cancer, Birth Defects Skyrocket in Fallujah

Sixty-five years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the American ambassador has finally appeared at the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony marking the events. New research in Fallujah, Iraq, however, finds increased levels of leukemia, infant mortality, and cancer, surpassing those caused by the bombing of Hiroshima. The survey, so far unmentioned in any major American media outlet, addresses the period following the American bombardment of the city in 2004 through 2009.

The findings, reported by Patrick Cockburn in the London Independent, dramatically confirm the suspicions of Iraqi doctors working in the region. Rates of leukemia, in particular, saw a 38-fold increase between 2005-2009, more than double the 1700% increase seen after the bombing of Hiroshima. Incidences of other genetic disorders also skyrocketed. Childhood cancer is up twelve-fold, cancer overall four-fold. Doctors complain of being inundated with serious birth defects, such as one girl born with two heads. The study found infant mortality rates of 80 per 1,000 births, four times greater than levels in Egypt, and eight times greater than those in neighboring Kuwait. The gender ratio at birth has also reached unnatural levels.

U.S commanders are accused of using indiscriminate and excessive violence in the bombardments of the city and have acknowledged deploying chemical weapons. What exactly caused the spike is unknown, but Dr. Chris Busby of the University of Ulster, who co-authored the study, suggests that "to produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened." Without the cooperation of U.S military officials it is impossible to identify the specific munitions used, but the authors cite exposure to depleted uranium as a potential cause.

The study, entitled Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009, was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

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