Toxic fallout from US war produces record child birth defect rates in Iraq

In a report presented at the University of Michigan last Wednesday, “The epidemic of birth defects in Iraq and the duty of public health researchers,” Dr. Muhsin Al Sabbak, a gynecologist from Basra Maternity Hospital, and Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicology researcher, reviewed the ever-growing mountain of data showing that rates of cancer, child cancer and birth defects (BD) have reached historically unprecedented levels in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities since the 2003 US invasion.

Dr. Al Sabbak is visiting the US as part of an effort to bring to the attention of both the US scientific community as well as the broader public the horrific impact of decades of US war in terms of the surge of genetic anomalies and disease in Basra. He cited data showing that the Iraqi city experienced a 17-fold increase in child birth defects between 1995 and 2003.

Birth defects increasingly found at Basra hospitals include limb deformities, stunted extremities, cleft lips and palates, internal organs on the outside of the body, and hands and feet on which all fingers and toes are fused together, Al Sabbak said.