Thursday, March 04, 2010
The US military has been blamed for a sudden increase in the amount of Iraqi children with birth defects.
Since fierce fighting in Falluja city in 2004, the level of heart defects among newborn babies is said to be 95 in every 1,000 births - 13 times higher than in Europe.
An investigation for the BBC has revealed that before the Iraq war began, doctors saw defects approximately once every two months. Hospitals in the city are now seeing as many as two or three cases a day.
Severe cases included children with six fingers, suffering from paralysis or brain damage, and a photograph of one baby born with three heads.
Doctors and parents in the city have claimed the rise in birth defects is due to highly sophisticated weaponry used by US troops during the heavy fighting.
A spokesman for the US military, Michael Kilpatrick, said it always took public health concerns "very seriously".
"No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues," he said.