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Reviews on Environmental Health

Editor-in-Chief: Carpenter, David O. / Sly, Peter

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Volume 31, Issue 2 (Jun 2016)


Environmental pollutions associated to conflicts in Iraq and related health problems

Ahmed Majeed Al-Shammari
  • Corresponding author
  • Experimental Therapy Department, Iraqi Centre for Cancer and Medical Genetic Research, Al-Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Email:
Published Online: 2015-10-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2015-0024


Several wars and a 13-year embargo as well as several years of civil war with the recent war on terrorism have cumulatively damaged Iraq’s land, air, water, and health infrastructure. The sand particles in Iraq contain toxic substances, which dates back to the pollution caused by military actions that disassemble the desert sands and turn it into light dust. This dust reaches cities as dust storms that effect most Iraqi cities. The presence of depleted uranium (DU) in the Iraqi food chain is documented by measuring the uranium in animals organs in different Iraqi cities with the highest concentration in the south of Iraq. One of the major sites of pollution in Iraq is the Al-twaitha nuclear research site. The nuclear research reactors were destroyed in the 1991 Gulf War. Barrels containing radioactive materials and sources were stolen from the site in the 2003 war. This resulted in considerable radioactive pollution at the site and in its surrounding areas. Soil sample have been found to be contaminated by Cs-137and Co-60. Cancer and birth defects are most associated with the environmental pollution caused by the conflicts. All studies related to this by Iraqi researchers are discussed in this review. From studying the Iraqi scientific publications, we can conclude that Basrah, Baghdad, Faluja, Mosul and Thi-Qar are the most effected cities in Iraq. This review concludes that the presence of a heavily contaminated environment with war related pollutants in most of the Iraqi cities needs much attention and huge effort to reduce the related health problems.

Keywords: Baghdad; birth defects; cancer; Gulf War


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About the article

Corresponding author: Ahmed Majeed Al-Shammari, Experimental Therapy Department, Iraqi Centre for Cancer and Medical Genetic Research, Al-Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad, Iraq, E-mail:

Received: 2015-08-10

Accepted: 2015-09-03

Published Online: 2015-10-29

Published in Print: 2016-06-01

Citation Information: Reviews on Environmental Health, ISSN (Online) 2191-0308, ISSN (Print) 0048-7554, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2015-0024. Export Citation

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