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Fallujah Doctors Say Chemicals From U.S. Weapons To Blame For High Levels Of Birth Defects

“While the U.S. military has formally withdrawn from Iraq, doctors and residents of Fallujah are blaming weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorous used during two devastating U.S. attacks on Fallujah in 2004 for what are being described as ‘catastrophic’ levels of birth defects and abnormalities,” Al Jazeera reports. Samira Alani, a pediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, “told Al Jazeera she had personally logged 677 cases of birth defects since October 2009,” the news service notes, adding, “Just eight days later when Al Jazeera visited the city on December 29, that number had already risen to 699.”

The news service highlights a number of cases of babies born with abnormalities and notes that a study conducted by Alani, British scientist Christopher Busby, and other researchers, published in September 2011, found mercury, uranium, bizmuth and other trace elements in soil and water samples as well as in “hair samples from 25 parents of families with children who have birth defects.” According to the news service, “The U.S. and U.K. militaries have sent mixed signals about the effects of depleted uranium, but Iraqi doctors like [Sharif al-Alwachi] and Alani, and along with researchers, blame the increasing cancer and birth defect rates on the weapon.” However, “[e]ven with a vast amount of anecdotal evidence, the exact cause of the health crisis in Fallujah is currently inconclusive without an in-depth, comprehensive study, which has yet to be carried out,” Al Jazeera writes (Jamail, 1/6).   

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.