Pollution main cause for rise in cancer in Iraq: expert - Yahoo! News

AMMAN (AFP) - Cancer cases and other illnesses have risen across
Iraq as a result of the unchecked use of chemical and radioactive material over the past three decades, an environmental expert said in Jordan.

"The environment in Iraq is polluted to a very large extent and this has lead to a growing number of cases of cancer, skin and respiratory diseases, as well as reproductive and child-related illnesses," Wajdy Hailoo told AFP on Monday.

"Iraq's environment have suffered over the past 30 years because of the use of radioactive and chemical material during conflicts and in industry," said Hailoo, a professor of medicine from New York's Stony Brook University.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a three-day conference that opened Monday in Amman.

Foreign and Iraqi experts are attending the conference organised by the university in cooperation with the US aid agency USAID, with the aim of finding solutions to deal with Iraq's huge environmental woes.

Experts in Iraq have said incidences of cancer of the colon, thyroid and leukemia have increased, particularly in areas like the southern port of Basra where the US-led allies used depleted uranium during the 1991
Gulf War.

Jawad al-Ali, director of the Oncology Centre of Sadr Educational Hospital in Basra, last year told IRIN, the UN news service, there has been a sharp rise in cases of birth defects, miscarriages, and kidney failure.

The UN's Environment Programme (UNEP) said last year it would help Iraq clean up highly toxic pollution that pose a direct threat to human health, estimating that more than 300 sites across the country were contaminated.

According to a UNEP report on Iraq, the sources of pollution range from plain garbage to depleted uranium weapons used by the US-led forces which toppled
Saddam Hussein's regime.

After the regime fell in April 2003, a wave of looting broke out across the country. Thieves ransacked potentially hazardous and radioactive materials from government, industrial and scientific facilities.

Pollution main cause for rise in cancer in Iraq: expert - Yahoo! News


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