International DU Conference Held in Baghdad
A two day conference was held in Iraq, on the 26th and 27th of March,
to examine the effects on health of depleted uranium munitions used
by U.S.-led forces during the Gulf War, which it says have caused
a rise in cancer in Iraq.
"The conference is to meet the urgent need for researchers and
specialists in Iraq and other countries to define negative impacts
of DU weapons on humans and the environment," Education Minister
Fahad Salim al-Shaqra said in his opening speech. Experts at the two-day
conference, organised by the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and
Scientific Research, include researchers from Egypt, Thailand and
Cancer rates among children have almost trebled from four cases per
100,000 in 1990 to 11 in 1999. Congenital deformities in Basra, southern
Iraq, increased four-fold from 1990 to 1999. "The cancer rate
increased among children 242% in 1999, whereas leukaemia cases increased
by 100% in the same year compared with 1990's figures," Shaqra
added. Shaqra said incidence of cancers of the breast, thyroid gland
and lymphatic system also rose.
An Iraqi vet said on Saturday thousands of fish that have died at
fish farms near Baghdad were poisoned by munitions used by British
and U.S. forces.
In November, after lobbying from Washington, the U.N. General Assembly
voted against an Iraqi proposal for a U.N.-backed study into the effects
of depleted uranium used in the Gulf War.