Thursday, March 04, 2010

We can assume until proved otherwise that Fallujah birth defects are due to DU

It is clear that there is an increased incidence of birth deformities in Fallujah.
What is causing it? The candidates are Depleted Uranium (DU), White Phosphorus, something else, or a combination of the above.

We know that White Phoshorus was used.
Abu Sabah, a refugee from Fallujah, reported seeing phosphorus bombs: "They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud. Then small pieces fell from the air with long tails of smoke trailing behind them. These exploded on the ground with large fires that burnt for half and hour," Abu Sabah said. "When anyone touched these fires their bodies burnt for hours." Source

However, White Phosphorus, although toxic , is not known to cause birth deformities. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but it is not a major candidate.

Malnutrition, particularly folic acid deficiency, is a known cause of neural tube defects, but not of the more complex defects being seen in Fallujah.

There is controversy over  DU was used in Fallujah. It is hotly denied by Richard S Lowry, a "military historian" who has written a book on Fallujah.

Others disagree:
Having seen what appeared to be a depleted uranium (DU) missile fired at a building in Fallujah on CNN during the first week of the fighting, AFP asked the Pentagon if DU weapons are being used in Fallujah. "Yes," Lt. Col. Joe Yoswa said, "DU is a standard round on the M-1 Abrams tank." Source.
That quote again:
Christian Bollyn of the American Free Press , Washington D.C asked Lt.Col. Joe Yoswa if the US was using Depleted Uranium in Fallujah and received the reply that " DU is the standard round on the M-1 Abraham Tanks" which have been used in Fallujah.

The source continues,

It was estimated that during that assault over 10,000 tons of depleted uranium, DU, was used in the bombardment of the city of 300,000 people. Both the Pentagon and the British governments insist that the use of DU is not illegal. Source 
This 10,000 tonne figure is doubtful. It may relate to the amount used in Iraq as a whole - see below. 

ICBUW is investigating the possible use of uranium weapons during the attacks on Fallujah. Currently it seems that Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles were deployed during both battles. Both vehicles carry armour piercing rounds containing uranium and high explosive rounds which do not. However the fact that they were not facing armoured targets does not mean that only high explosive rounds were used. In fact, there are indications that armour piercing ammunition may be more effective against individuals fighting behind cover in urban areas. While is not known how widespread the use of uranium weapons was during the fighting, it seems likely that it was used to some extent.

The Pentagon admits to having used 1,200 tonnes of DU in Iraq thus far.

So there are wide discrepancies in the reportage. These discrepancies can be resolved by publication of the original the ammunition lists from 2004. Or let's hear from crews who were there. Most importantly, let us do a survey on the ground in Fallujah, to find out what radiation counters and chemical analysis shows.

Here is one source that could prove Lowry wrong:
Mr. Rasheed presented a video report entitled "Witness from Fallujah." And regarding DU, he said: "We detected abnormally high radioactivity by using a Geiger counter." Source.

DU is both radioactive and chemically toxic. As a chemical weapon it would be banned by the Geneva Convention, so the military have no choice of stance except Stout Denial. There is no proof that DU causes these problems, they say, exploiting journalists' ignorance of the fact that there is no proof in science, only evidence. And the evidence that DU causes problems is as widespread as the use of these weapons.

There is evidence that DU can cause birth deformities.: "In aggregate the human epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth defects in offspring of persons exposed to DU."

What is lacking is not "proof", but the willingness of politicians to listen to doctors rather than to generals in matters relating to medicine.

The evidence needs sorting out, and the Bradford Hill guidelines need to be applied.


Phil said...

To what extent have food supplies been disrupted in the area? Malnutrition could also be a cause.

DocRichard said...

Folic acid deficiency is associated with neural tube defects, and general malnutrition with low birth weight and developmental delay, but otherwise, malnutrition is not as high on the suspects list as chemical toxins and ionising radiation for abnormalities.

Synergy should always be considered.

There is a lovely diagram explaining this in Bills of Health.

Back to the case in hand. The Military are in Denial. And I don't mean that they are having a swim in that big river in Egypt.

Phil said...

New Scientist is also asking What is causing deformities in Fallujah's children?

DocRichard said...

Thanks for the link, Phil. I put this on their comment slot "Surprised to see the NS using the "not proved" meme. As you know, proof belongs to mathematics, not science. We have the task of amassing evidence, and testing hypotheses. The hypothesis here is that the DU from tank shells (between 1000 and 10,000 tonnes fired into Falluja) plus or minus other factors, is causing the deformities. We need a formal epidemiological survey, as Alistair Hay says, with an assessment of the incidence of deformities and other, less sensitive disease; a survey of DU residues on the ground, and an application of Bradford Hill's criteria. We also need a review of other regions where DU has been used. Most of all, we need politicians to realise that the military are in denial over DU, and that generals are not necessarily the best people to advise on epidemiology."

viagra online said...

Its very sad to see these problems happen to little children,I really hope I never have a child with any of these issues.

Anonymous said...

Since no DU was used in Fallujah, the good doctor has lept to the wrong diagnosis. He even used a photo by the Afghan con artist Mohammed Daud Miraki who lives in Chicago, Illinois. The photo is of a very rare genetic condition, Harlequin Ichthyosis that has no connection with DU and is common in tribal inbreeding. The photo in question, though, was probably not even taken in Afghanistan. DU was also not used in Afghanistan. To learn a lot about uranium from from real experts, go watch the video at


Anonymous said...

The good doc has a very active imagination. How he got ZERO use of DU in Fallujah because there were no tank battles there in 2003 and no enemy tanks there in 2004 to the enormous numbers that he asserts as fact is beyond me. Richard Lowry wrote a good book "New Dawn" about the 2004 battles and thanks to him I also connected to a Marine tank gunner who told me that he had never seen, let alone fired a sabot (the correct term for the 120mm DU penetrator is armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS)in four tours in Iraq. You can learn more if you visit Richard Lowry's Facebook page

DocRichard said...

Well, hello, Roger
I have removed the original picture of a deformed baby, though I doubt that it was of harlequin ichthyosis, because it was not from Fallujah.
I would ask you to re-read the post more carefully.
To be clear:
The fact is that birth deformities are high in Fallujah.
DU is associated with birth deformities.
Abrams tanks were present, and they carry DU weapons.
In the confusion of battle, it is possible that DU sabots were used as well as HE.

The matter can and must be settled by detailed examination of the dust in Fallujah.

DocRichard said...

Sorry, bad syntax there. I mean that the photo was not of a baby from Fallujah. And I doubt that it was Harlequin ichthyosis, though impossible to be certain.