Boom in Fallujah Birth Defects Continues To Go Uninvestigated

In 2009, the Guardian ran an article and video documenting the unbelievably high rate of birth defects in Fallujah following the US use of heavy munitions in 2005. In one hospital alone, the rate was close to 25% — more than four times the normal rate globally

Now, three years later, Al Jazeera confirms that little has been done to investigate the cause of these birth defects. In that time, a single doctor has logged 667 cases of birth defects – and that’s just at one hospital. “There are not even medical terms to describe some of these conditions because we’ve never seen them until now,” she told Al Jazeera. “So when I describe it all I can do is describe the physical defects, but I’m unable to provide a medical term.”

In this video, mothers talk about their children’s conditions, and doctors describe some of the horrific birth defects they’ve seen in infants, including a pair of conjoined twins with one head missing. (It should go without saying that this footage is disturbing.)

Though the US has denied using prohibited weapons in Fallujah, a study in September 2011 found chemical contamination in local soil and water samples, as well as hair samples from the families of children with birth defects. Mercury, uranium, and bismuth are among the suspected culprits causing this unprecedented rise in congenital abnormalities.

Research has also shown a 12-fold increase in childhood cancers since 2004. The normal birth rate has also been skewed, with only 86 boys now being born for every 100 girls in Fallujah. The birth defect rate is more than 14 times that found today in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Despite the public health crisis, the Iraqi government has done nothing to investigate the causes of these birth defects. The people of Fallujah have been unable to obtain international support for the kind of in-depth, comprehensive study necessary to determine them. Even so, many pediatricians and obstetricians in Fallujah continue to care for these children and maintain medical records as best they can.

Related Stories:

Misery Continues in Iraq: Birth Defects Spike in Fallujah

Troops Are Home from Iraq, But the War Is Far From Over

Iraqi Women Speak: US Troop Withdrawal A Double-Edged Sword


Photo by DVIDSHUB on Flickr


Manuela B.
Manuela B5 years ago

I must admit i am surprised that the US is using chemical weapons and then to ignore the problems that arise from the use of them. Shame America Shame. Unfortunately it's always the children that suffer...

Jackie Agusta
Jackie Agusta6 years ago

That footage is awful, those poor children :-(

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S6 years ago

This is horrible. Is there a petition? Can Amnesty International do something or is this not their area? Whose area is it - we should be held accountable for doing this to the people of Iraq?!

Beth S.
Beth S6 years ago


Thanks for explaining about your profile, but why did it take you so long to answer the question posed by so many different people?

I speak simply as one who did some research because this Care2 writer made claims that sounded suspicious, especially in light of her source’s statement that there are no official records. I presented the evidence from peer-reviewed scientific journals to counter the specific claims that

1) there is a "boom" in birth defects in Fallujah

2) and that this alleged boom comes from Depleted Uranium bombs dropped on Fallujah
From what I found and presented, there seems to be little or no evidence, respectively, on either count.

The writer also states that “Research has also shown a 12-fold increase in childhood cancers since 2004. The normal birth rate has also been skewed, with only 86 boys now being born for every 100 girls in Fallujah. The birth defect rate is more than 14 times that found today in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

This is tantamount to an accusation, yet the writer cites no information at all about where that research was done, who said it or what? It’s irresponsible, hearsay, possibly even contrived in whole or in part. In fact, the piece she does provide a hyperlink for says that some of the other claims were based on “After several years of speculation and anecdotal evidence…”


Beth S.
Beth S6 years ago

We, the readers, deserve to know that if A accuses B of something that the accusation is based on objective, honest, sound, facts that can be backed up.

Assuming Rodriguez reads her own columns’ comments, she has had ample opportunity to clarify these issues. If there really is the research to support her claims by all means share it with us.

I am assuming that people really want to know the truth. I do.

I have no question that war is unhealthy for all sorts of reasons, and I’m sure that many human beings’ health has been compromised by this war and weapons. But using "illegal weapons", especially radioactive ones, is not a charge that should stand unless it has been proven that illegal weapons were used.

I asked you, too, to counter what I've found with credible, peer-reviewed evidence, and you still have not. All you have done and are still doing is playing a game of emotional subterfuge and repeatedly using the term "Zionists" to give it extra zing.

You say, "Your insertions are quite wild and clearly biased against all Muslims."

This is yet another example of the sort of claims you make without giving any specifics. As far as I know, neither R&J nor I have made any claims without evidence nor do we make claims about “all Muslims”.

Is your repeated refusal to back up your claims a sign of your laziness or your inability to do so?

Rose Balcom
Rose Balcom6 years ago

Children are always a casualty of war! No doubt all the fighting in Fallujah has something to do with the increase in birth defects!

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A6 years ago

In addition to comments below, I would revert your attention back to the matter as quite clearly described above.
There are enough statistics to persuade the neutral that the chemicals used in modern warfare are detrimental to all living things (I suppose that is why they are the ultimate killing tools)

Some will argue the problems faced by mothers and the babies are nothing to do with the war then they are either blind to the facts or pure stupid when they see an explosive increase in deformities of the new born. How can they even justify anything as grossly unfair as raining down the bombs and then deny they don't effect the people living there or their of springs?

The US soldiers, service men and women who were perfectly healthy before going there have suffered too and have returned not only the physical but also mental ill health which they dished out to Iraqis. They did not go there with these defects or did they?
Let the Islamophobes and Zionist bigots answer this - not only to Care2 members but also to the relatives of US survivors and those who came in the body bags.

Some folks have lost all humanity and death or destruction of others can be forgotten by pure accusations and excuses.
Now that the US is just busy sponging oil from the country and the service men/ women are out - who cares what happens to the residents of Iraq and other countries where they have been bombed to the "stone ages" according to Bushes, Blairs, Chennies and Romsfelds.

May t

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A6 years ago

Rob&j, Beth S: you speak as though you are the main authorities on all the world's rulings - which you most certainly are not. You talk of Muslims cruelty on Jews, ask the historians they quoted and the Jews admitted that they prospered when Muslims ruled the lands they lived in.

The Holy Lands are not the right and owned by the Zionists - but instead are important to Jews, Christians and Muslims who have equal rights to be there and worship in their own ways without Zionists restrictions.

You may well be related to the Zionists as you 2 defend them with all your might and your Anti Muslim, Islamophobic contributions are a clear sign of your true colours.

If my profile is not visible to you, I can not help it. I tried my best to put it on but I need some technical assistance but this does not render my posts inferior than any one else's.

Your insertions are quite wild and clearly biased against all Muslims, hence no amount of persuasion can modify your attitude - so let you carry on as you assertions will spur some others to study the religion that you so passionately hate and lead them to a different way of

You keep at it and fewer and fewer people will take any notice of your bleating.

Deborah L.
Deborah L6 years ago

My neighbors son was in Nam and all 3 of his children, born after he served, had no enamel on their teeth, various problems. The youngest one wasn't what a medical definition of a pinhead was, but her neck was about 3 time longer than normal and her head was about 1/3 the normal size, the boy acted goofy but was not considered mentally challenged and the other girl was very slow. The doctors could not give exact diagnosis but everyone of the children was just outside of normal with different anomalies except their teeth. The father was exposed to a lot of Agent Orange and we feel that did much to effect these children he had.

All the chemicals dropped in Iraq are no doubt a major reason for all the birth defects. I feel bad for the suffering these babies and their families are going through.This was so unnecessary.

War is not good for children and other living things. Poster from the 1970's.

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S6 years ago

Abdul A, Where is your profile? What are you hiding?

You & your fellow Islamist hatemongers always lurking to pounce & claim victim status all the while you never ever can give any proof of any of your accusations you make against people who oppose the cruelty, violence & hate that is at the core of Mohammed's ideology - kill gays, rape victims, those who leave Islam or criticize it, & your supposedly 'liberal' friends, like Elisabeth K et al, who claim to be so concerned for human rights, just kiss your behind & excuse Islam for all of its violence & stupidity. Tell them how you believe all these people should be killed! Be honest for once.

Why is it that you Islamists can spout hatred of Jews, Israel (that Islam invaded & colonized & defiled its holy sites - it doesn't belong to you & never has) gays, apostates & human rights activists & none of these 'liberals' here ever stand up to your hate? The feminists ignore Islam's brutality to women & children. Yet someone criticizes Islam's violence & hate, even its ridiculous encouragement for inbreeding that causes so much suffering, as in this story, & these 'liberals' all shout at those who they should be supporting. It isn't racist to oppose hate, violence & stupidity.