Birth defects in Iraq and the plausibility of environmental exposure: A review
1 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq
2 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Baghdad University, Baghdad, Iraq
Conflict and Health 2012, 6:3 doi:10.1186/1752-1505-6-3Published: 28 July 2012
An increased prevalence of birth defects was allegedly reported in Iraq in the post 1991 Gulf War period, which was largely attributed to exposure to depleted uranium used in the war. This has encouraged further research on this particular topic. This paper reviews the published literature and provided evidence concerning birth defects in Iraq to elucidate possible environmental exposure. In addition to published research, this review used some direct observation of birth defects data from Al-Ramadi Maternity and Paediatric Hospital in Al-Anbar Governorate in Iraq from1st July 2000 through 30th June 2002. In addition to depleted uranium other war-related environmental factors have been studied and linked directly or indirectly with the increasing prevalence of birth defects. However, the reviewed studies and the available research evidence do not provide a clear increase in birth defects and a clear indication of a possible environmental exposure including depleted uranium although the country has been facing several environmental challenges since 1980.