Hundreds of tons of Depleted Uranium (DU) were used during the invasion of Iraq. The US forces have forbid any kind of (DU) related exploration programs or research. They have also covered up and denied DU’s damaging health effects, and refused to release information on the amounts, types and locations of these weapons within Iraq. As a consequence, thousands of Iraqi children and their families are suffering from different low level radiation (LLR) related diseases such as congenital malformations, malignancies, congenital heart diseases, chromosomal aberration and multiple malformations. Women in the contaminated areas suffered high rates of miscarriages and sterility
Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons are manufactured from radioactive waste generated during the enrichment process of natural uranium as part of the nuclear fuel cycle.
American and British armed forces fired DU bullets and projectiles for the first time against the human population and environment in Iraq during the Gulf War, 1991. When DU munitions hit the target, they ignite prophetically and generate heat that reaches a temperature of 3000-6000. This heat causes a sublimation of DU and other metals to form a gas or aerosol that is considered as (nano- particles). The nano particles cross the lung blood barrier and gain entrance to the cells and create free radicals. Some effects that the people are facing are, immune and hormonal systems damage, distribution of thyroid function and tetrogenic toxicity where soluble DU oxides crosses the placenta to the fetus, as a result damages might range from behavioral problems to mental retardation and congenital malformations.
The Minister of Environment under the occupation government finally admitted in 2007 the existence of more than 350 highly contaminated DU site, along with the existence of high rates of cancer in Iraq due to the use of DU weapons.
Title: Crime of the Century: Contaminating Iraq with Depleted uranium
Publication: B Russells Tribunal – http://www.brusselstribunal.org/pdf/DU-Azzawi.pdf
Date of Pub: September 19, 2010 (Pages #s) 28
Author: Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi – Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering, Iraq.
Faculty Evaluator: Elaine Wellin, Sonoma State University
Student Researcher: Rosa Caldera, Sonoma State University