Doctors in Iraq are recording a sharp rise in the number of cancer victims south of Baghdad. Sufferers in the province of Babil have risen almost tenfold in just three years.
Locals blame depleted uranium from US military equipment used in the 2003 invasion. Some 500 cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2004 alone. That figure rose to almost 1,000 two years later.
In 2008, the number of cases increased sevenfold to 7,000 diagnoses. This year, there have so far been more than 9,000 new cases, and the number is rising.
Mosab Jasim reports that Iraqi researchers believe radiation is responsible for the increase in cancer and birth defects in the country, but he says the US and British militaries have sent mixed signals about the effects of depleted uranium.
However, Christopher Busby, a British scientist and activist who has carried out research into the risks of radioactive pollution, said there is proof of a definitive link between cancer and depleted uranium.
“I made this link to a coroner’s inquest in the West Midlands into the death of a Gulf War One veteran … and a coroner’s jury accepted my evidence,” he told Al Jazeera.
“It’s been found by a coroner’s court that cancer was caused by an exposure to depleted uranium.
“In the last ten years, research has emerged that has made it quite clear that uranium is one of the most dangerous substances known to man, certainly in the form that it takes when used in these wars.”