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Human Rights Now l 18 April, 2013
For Immediate Release
10 years after the war, Innocent New Lives are Still Dying and Suffering In Iraq.
Human Rights NGO publish the Report of a Fact Finding Mission on Congenital Birth Defects in Fallujah, Iraq in 2013
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War. After the war, particularly in the most recent few years, a deeply troubling rise in the numbers of birth defects has been reported by doctors in Iraq, leading to suspicions that environmental contamination from the war may be having a significant negative effect on the health of local people, and in particular infants and children. For instance in Fallujah, the city heavily attacked by the US twice in 2004, the data of Fallujah General Hospital shows that around 15% of babies of all births in Fallujah since 2003 have some congenital birth defect.
Human Rights Now (HRN), a Tokyo based international human rights NGO in consultative status with the UNEconomic and Social Council, conducted a fact-finding mission in Fallujah, Iraq in early 2013 to investigate thesituation of the reported increasing number of birth defects in Iraq.
Today, HRN published a report over 50 pages entitled "Innocent New Lives are Still Dying and Suffering in Iraq" on this investigation.
The Independent reports on study: "Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009", by Dr Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan and Entesar Ariabi. The deadly result of use of uranium weapons in Fallujah.
Independent l Patrick Coburn 24 July, 2011
Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study.
Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents.
Their claims have been supported by a survey showing a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighbouring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait.
Interesting article on depleted uranium in Hawaii, with a more general overview of DU use by the military. Hawaiians downwind of the Schofield Barracks on Oahu and the Big Island’s Pohakuloa Training Area worry about safety and health issues should leftover DU catch fire and become airborne, contaminating soil and water and posing an inhalation and ingestion risk to humans.
Civil Beat l Joan Conrow 6 march, 2011
Depleted uranium (DU) is an extremely dense, man-made, radioactive heavy metal that is left over after natural uranium is enriched to produce fuel for nuclear reactors and weapons. It has a number of military uses and the Army has acknowledged it is present on at least two of its installations inHawaii: Schofield Barracks on Oahu and the Big Island’s Pohakuloa Training Area. Further investigations are planned for the Makua Military Reservation on Oahu. It’s unclear exactly what the health and environmental implications are of having this material on the Islands, and therein lies the controversy.
The U.S. Army has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an after-the-fact license to possess a maximum of 17,600 pounds of depleted uranium at all of its American installations, including Hawaii. The NRC has conducted public meetings on the application and plans to issue a decision by the end of 2010.
Four Hawaii Island residents sought a hearing on the application, but the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denied their request, saying they had failed to demonstrate standing. Isaac Harp appealed that decision, which the NRC upheld on Aug. 12, 2010.
Additionally, Harp filed a petition with the NRC last March requesting an enforcement action against the Army for allegedly not having a license to possess DU in 1964 when the materials were used in Hawaii. The NRC’s Petition Review Board has been considering that request and expects to have a proposed decision in 2010.
Each ton of uranium ore produces about 286 pounds of enriched fuel. The remainder is known as depleted uranium, or DU, because it has been largely depleted of the highly radioactive isotope U-235. However, it still retains 60 to 75 percent of the radioactivity of natural uranium, and has a radioactive half-life of about 4.5 billion years. The Department of Energy currently has about 771,000 tons of DU stored in three mainland states.
Other nations with nuclear programs also have large and growing stockpiles of DU. Some DU is used for civilian purposes, such as counterweights in aircraft and x-ray shielding in hospitals. However, DU is mainly used for military purposes, primarily in ammunition and tank armor. It is also a component in nuclear weapons.
Locally, the concern is over DU associated with military training exercises dating back to the 1960s, and most particularly with DU still present on live firing ranges, where it has the potential to ignite. When DU burns or explodes, it creates tiny particles of aerosolized DU oxide (DUO) that are easily windborne, fueling fears among residents living downwind of Pohakuloa.