Depleted Uranium in Iraq and Gulf War Veterans
In the areas where depleted uranium was used in Southern Iraq, a number of serious health problems have emerged among both soldiers and civilians.
For instance, there has been a 66% increase in leukaemias and cancers in Southern Iraq. There has also been a marked increase in the numbers of children born with birth malformations, with horrific reports of 3 children in one family being born with severe congenital malformations.
Maggie O'Kane, Felicity Arbuthnot, and journalists working with Desert Concerns, have all reported on the health crisis in Southern Iraq. The former reported a Dr Zenad Mohammed, from a hospital in Basra, herself pregnant, who was so terrified of giving birth to a severely malformed child, that she was doing her own monitoring of the problem. Her notes begin "In August we had three babies born with no head. Four had abnormally large heads. In September we had six with no heads, none with large heads and two with short limbs. In October, one with no head, four with big heads and four with deformed limbs or other types of deformities."
Severe case of hydrocephalus with defects of the cerebral nerves and debility, seen in Southern Iraq
photo: Siegwart-Horst Günthor
There are also large numbers of soldiers who served in the Gulf with Allied forces and in the Iraqi army, who are now suffering from mysterious illnesses - often referred to as Gulf War syndrome. Many of these illnesses reflect those seen among Iraqi children and civilians. For example, of the 697,000 US troops who served in the Gulf, over 90,000 have reported medical problems. Symptoms include respiratory, liver, and kidney dysfunction, memory loss, headaches, fever, low blood pressure. There are also defects reported among their newborn children. In a veterans community in Mississippi, 67% of the children were born with malformations.
UK and US Gulf War veterans have tested positive for depleted uranium poisoning, although the governments of both countries have at every turn denied proper independent testing for all veterans.
For more information on depleted uranium and Gulf War Veterans see the National Gulf War Resource Centre's information at http://www.ngwrc.org/Dulink/du_link.htm or the Military Toxics Project: http://www.miltoxproj.org
Severly injured Iraqi soldier, the lesions in his face are due to radiation
Photo: Siegwart-Horst Günthor