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Thursday, July 15, 2010

The terrible effects of radioactivity in Fallujah, Iraq


There have been repeated informations coming from Iraq on the population of Fallujah being damaged by unknown malignant agents (possibly depleted uranium or other radioactive or biochemical agents) since the brutal and ill-reported battle of Fallujah in the year 2004 between invading forces from the USA and local Iraqi resistance militia.

Now, finally, an academic report has been made and published, confirming the atrocious situation.

Chris Busby et al., Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2010.

Abstract: There have been anecdotal reports of increases in birth defects and cancer in Fallujah, Iraq blamed on the use of novel weapons (possibly including depleted uranium) in heavy fighting which occurred in that town between US led forces and local elements in 2004. In Jan/Feb 2010 the authors organised a team of researchers who visited 711 houses in Fallujah, Iraq and obtained responses to a questionnaire in Arabic on cancer, birth defects and infant mortality. The total population in the resulting sample was 4,843 persons with and overall response rate was better than 60%. Relative Risks for cancer were age-standardised and compared to rates in the Middle East Cancer Registry (MECC, Garbiah Egypt) for 1999 and rates in Jordan 1996–2001. Between Jan 2005 and the survey end date there were 62 cases of cancer malignancy reported (RR = 4.22; CI: 2.8, 6.6; p < rr =" 12.6;" rr =" 38.5;" rr =" 9.24;CI:" rr =" 9.7;CI:" rr =" 7.4;CI:">80 deaths per 1,000 births. This may be compared with a rate of 19.8 in Egypt (RR = 4.2 p <>The mean birth sex-ratio in the recent 5-year cohort was anomalous. Normally the sex ratio in human populations is a constant with 1,050 boys born to 1,000 girls. This is disturbed if there is a genetic damage stress. The ratio of boys to 1,000 girls in the 0–4, 5–9, 10–14 and 15–19 age cohorts in the Fallujah sample were 860, 1,182, 1,108 and 1,010 respectively suggesting genetic damage to the 0–4 group (p <>

...

Conclusions

This study was intended to investigate the accuracy of the various reports which have been emerging from Fallujah regarding perceived increases in birth defects, infant deaths and cancer in the population and to examine samples from the area for the presence of mutagenic substances that may explain any results. We conclude that the results confirm the reported increases in cancer and infant mortality which are alarmingly high. The remarkable reduction in the sex ratio in the cohort born one year after the fighting in 2004 identifies that year as the time of the environmental contamination. In our opinion, the magnitude of these effects make it difficult to question them on the basis of any of the hypothetical shortcomings of the study type which we have considered although these must be borne in mind. However, owing to the various constraints placed by circumstance on the methods employed, we must emphasise that the results of this study should be interpreted with those aspects in mind. Finally, the results reported here do not throw any light upon the identity of the agent(s) causing the increased levels of illness and although we have drawn attention to the use of depleted uranium as one potential relevant exposure, there may be other possibilities and we see the current study as investigating the anecdotal evidence of increases in cancer and infant mortality in Fallujah.


There is an interesting article at David Rothscum Reports blog extending in the implications of these findings and some details that are not apparent on first sight, such as the infant mortality being still growing and not decreasing at all. If you feel you can read some of the first hand testimonies and watch some of the photos of the murdered children without fainting, you can see some in this other article at the same blog.

In turn Layla Anwar reported on this matter some days ago and denounced some details that are not apparent at all in the paper:


- the Iraqi authorities threatened all the participants of this survey with arrest and detention should they cooperate with the "terrorists" who were interviewing them. In other words, they were threatened under the anti-terrorism act.

- The U.S forces prohibited Dr.Busby for gathering any data, arguing that Falluja is an insurgency zone.

- The doctors from Falluja turned down the request to be aired live on the Ahmad Mansour program because they had received several death threats and feared for their lives.

It is important, I believe, to remind that Gaza Strip was subject to the same kind of criminal attack with depleted uranium and other niceties by Israel in the 2008-09 Christmas, with the complicit silence of the then President-elect Barack Obama (who has later also supported Israel in other criminal actions such as the terrorist attack against the Mavi Marmara). Some scattered information of similar radiation-caused damages is known but because of the savage siege that Israel imposes on the open-air prison it is impossible to know with any detail what is exactly happening.

8 comments:

Ebizur said...

"Normally the sex ratio in human populations is a constant with 1,050 boys born to 1,000 girls."

This is incorrect. The sex ratio at birth varies among human populations, being at present highest (i.e. greatest excess of male births over female births) in the Caucasus region, Arabia, Northwest India, China, and Korea, and lowest (i.e. least excess of male births over female births) in Sub-Saharan Africa (mostly populated by Bantu and related Niger-Congo-speaking peoples).

Maju said...

Source?

That figure is consistent with what I have read in the past and what can be found in Wikipedia:

"The natural sex ratio at birth is estimated to be close to 1.1 males/female".

"Even in the absence of sex selection practices, a range of "normal" sex ratios at birth of between 103 to 107 boys per 100 girls has been observed in different societies, and among different ethnic and racial groups within a given society".

"In the United States, the sex ratios at birth over the period 1970–2002 were 105 for the white non-Hispanic population, 104 for Mexican Americans, 103 for African Americans and Indians, and 107 for mothers of Chinese or Filipino ethnicity.[1] Among Western European countries ca. 2001, the ratios ranged between 104 in Belgium and 107 in Portugal. In the aggregated results of 56 Demographic and Health Surveys[2] in African countries, the ratio is 103, though there is also considerable country-to-country variation.[3]"

So 105:100 is very reasonable approximate figure for humankind where gender selection before birth does not exist.

Maju said...

Found your source, I believe.

Certainly the birth ratios reported by the CIA for the south Caucasus are very much anomalous, more so than those of China and India, where pre-natal gender selection is a sadly common well known reality.

But otherwise the ratio is well in the 1-1.09 range (Grenada-Taiwan), confirming the general trend of approx. 1.05 overall.

Maju said...

In no case anyhow a gender ratio <1 is reported anywhere. And that is the case in Fallujah with 0.8.

Ebizur said...

Maju said,

"But otherwise the ratio is well in the 1-1.09 range (Grenada-Taiwan), confirming the general trend of approx. 1.05 overall."

If it is an "average" or a "general trend," then it is misleading to describe the number as a "constant." Please note the wording used by the authors of the present article.

"So 105:100 is very reasonable approximate figure for humankind where gender selection before birth does not exist. ... Certainly the birth ratios reported by the CIA for the south Caucasus are very much anomalous, more so than those of China and India, where pre-natal gender selection is a sadly common well known reality."

Do you really think that "pre-natal gender selection" could have such a significant effect on the sex ratio at birth in Taiwan or Vietnam?

"In no case anyhow a gender ratio <1 is reported anywhere. And that is the case in Fallujah with 0.8."

Yes, exactly. Note that I have compared the difference in the excess of male births over female births; there is no natural human population in which the ratio of male births to female births is less than one. However, the fact remains that some populations, such as Niger-Congo speakers, exhibit sex ratios at birth that are very close to one (i.e. they produce almost equal numbers of boys and girls), whereas some other populations, including many in Caucasia and East Asia, exhibit sex ratios at birth that are clearly skewed in favor of males.

In any case, the estimate of the sex ratio among infants in U.S.-occupied Fallujah that has been presented by the authors of this article is unnaturally low. There are only three authors listed (Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan, and Entesar Ariabi); I wonder if anyone can vouch for their neutrality? The authors have stated in their article,

"2.2. Ethical Aspects
The ethical aspects of conducting such a study were considered in some depth. In contemporary Iraq it would have been impossible to obtain ethical committee approval even if such a body existed, which it does not. The authorities have consistently avoided examining the health of communities which have complained of increases in ill health, and little has been done by the international community. Indeed, shortly after the questionnaire survey was completed, Iraqi TV reportedly broadcast that a questionnaire survey was being carried out by terrorists and that anyone who was answering or administering the questionnaire could be arrested. In general, the provisions of the Helsinki protocol were followed insofar as no one was coerced and all confidentiality was assured."

Their reported survey results are very odd, that's for sure.

Maju said...

"Do you really think that "pre-natal gender selection" could have such a significant effect on the sex ratio at birth in Taiwan or Vietnam?"

I don't know. IF there is some natural (?) variation between populations, this is very small in any case and really irrelevant for the issue at hand.

"In any case, the estimate of the sex ratio among infants in U.S.-occupied Fallujah that has been presented by the authors of this article is unnaturally low".

Yes. The reason seems to be that radiation damage in chromosome X affects much more severely to males than females, who have two copies.

"There are only three authors listed (Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan, and Entesar Ariabi); I wonder if anyone can vouch for their neutrality?"

Chris Busby is a recognized researcher in ionizing radiation and expert in war situations like this.

Why are you questioning the neutrality of the ONLY research to have been done since 2004 and not the neutrality of occupation and Iraqi authorities who are doing nothing but causing difficulties and issuing death threats, which in the Iraqi context of permanent political terror against civilians are very much real?

Go out there to Fallujah, dribble the authorities' many obstacles and do a counter-report yourself.

What I'm wondering is about YOUR neutrality in this matter. It'd seem as if you would have interest in the occupation of Iraq or something. Do you think that a military organization that imposes information and health research censorship on an area is "neutral"?

DU radiation damage is a well known issue and a reason to forbid such munitions whose main "virtue" is to cause long lasting damage among civilians (and possibly troops too if they stay around).

Additionally it'd be good to know what other agents were used in Fallujah and to what extent they have damaged the people, the troops and if the source of damage can be removed or if alternative it is best to move the population out of the city, as in Chernobyl.

Also it'd be interesting to know if anyone can be held responsible of war crimes in relation with this and what political responsability belongs to the current and previous Iraqi governments under the occupation.

Same in the case of Gaza. We cannot just stay silent and watch while millions are being murdered in such a cruel form. Are we humans or robots?!

Go there, get your boots dirty, risk your life probably, and find out if the report is accurate or what. Just casting the generic doubt is pointless. Go and try to reproduce, improve, disprove, whatever... but go there and get yourself involved before you criticize the only such research ever!

Ebizur said...

It seems that you have failed to perceive the essence of my previous comments. Perhaps you may have left Quetzalcoatl too soon.

Anyway, please let me assure you that my reluctance to accept this article as it has been written has nothing to do with my opinion about the ongoing war in Iraq.

Maju said...

Maybe I went to far in judging your motivations (if so, my apologies) but I was reading you and exclaiming: "WTF!"

Seriously, the data is there, it is scientifically valid and the best you can do if you have any doubt is to promote an independent research (which no doubt will face the same difficulties as this one if not worse).

As for Quetzacoatl (the anthropology forum, I presume), I don't know what you mean: I left long ago and only because the administrator was acting as a bitch with me (and IMO with others too), using his "superpowers" to insult others and promote his own viewpoints.

Otherwise I respect the people I met there.

But I don't know how this is relevant here.