Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Reviews on Environmental Health

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

Editorial Board: Brugge, Doug / Edwards, John W. / Field, R.William / Garbisu, Carlos / Hales, Simon / Horowitz, Michal / Lawrence, Roderick / Maibach, H.I. / Shaw, Susan / Tao, Shu / Tchounwou, Paul B.

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.284

CiteScore 2017: 1.29

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.438
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.603

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 31, Issue 2


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
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
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


  • 1.

    Brown VJ. Reconstructing the environment in Iraq. Environ Health Perspect 2004;112(8):A464.PubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 2.

    Faisal NN. The use of cluster analysis to classify cancer by species and situations in Iraq for the period (1998–2006). J Kirkuk Uni Admin Econ Sci 2014;4(1):269–91.Google Scholar

  • 3.

    Ridha HKA, Al-Safi JS. The future vesion to the cancer incidenece in Iraq, a comparative analytical study to the effect of Iraq-Iran war. Baghdad College Econ Sci Uni 2010;(25):91–102.Google Scholar

  • 4.

    Alaani S, Tafash M, Busby C, Hamdan M, Blaurock-Busch E. Uranium and other contaminants in hair from the parents of children with congenital anomalies in Fallujah, Iraq. Confl Health 2011;5:15.PubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 5.

    Jergovic M, Miškulin M, Puntarić D, Gmajnića R, Milas J, et al. Cross-sectional biomonitoring of metals in adult populations in post-war eastern Croatia: differences between areas of moderate and heavy combat. Croat Med J 2010;51(5):451–60.PubMedWeb of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 6.

    Muhannad KM. Risk assessment related to contamination of terrestrial food chains by atmospherically deposited lead particles. Al-Mustansiriyah J Sci 2010:21(3):103–16.Google Scholar

  • 7.

    Maitham AS, Mahdi SA-R, Abdulrahim E. Assessment of toxic and carcinogenic elements in dust and soil in Baghdad city and their effects on the distribution of some diseases. Iraqi J Sci 2012;53(Special Issue):167–78.Google Scholar

  • 8.

    Al-Dabbas M, Khafaji RA. Some Geochemical, textural and radioactive characteristics of the sandstorms loads blown over Baghdad and Ramadi cities, middle Iraq. Iraqi J Sci 2012;53 (Special Issue):57–66.Google Scholar

  • 9.

    Al-Sabbak M, Sadik Ali S, Savabi O, Savabi G, Dastgiri S, et al. Metal contamination and the epidemic of congenital birth defects in Iraqi cities. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2012;89(5):937–44.CrossrefPubMedWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • 10.

    Mohammed AM, Nidhala HKALA. Uranium concentration measurement in soil for some northern Iraqi’s regions by using CR-39 detector. Baghdad Sci J 2009;6(2):315–9.Google Scholar

  • 11.

    Dyer O. WHO suppressed evidence on effects of depleted uranium, expert says. Br Med J 2006;333:990.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 12.

    Registry A.f.T.S.a.D. Toxicological profile for uranium. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, GA: Public Health Service, 2013.Google Scholar

  • 13.

    Stradling GN, Stather JW, Gray SA, Moody JC, Hodgson A, et al. The metabolism of ceramic and non-ceramic forms of uranium dioxide after deposition in the rat lung. Hum Toxicol 1988;7(2):133–9.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 14.

    Kathren RL, Moore RH. Acute accidental inhalation of U: a 38-year follow-up. Health Phys 1986;51(5):609–19.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 15.

    Rasheed NH. The spatial distribution for the radiation pollution in lraq. J Research Diyala Humanity 2013;(57):729–63.Google Scholar

  • 16.

    Alrawi NB, Yas RM, Tawfiq NF, Elias MM. Determination of uranium concentration in sheep organs for some Iraqi cities. Baghdad Sci J 2011;8(3):766–71.Google Scholar

  • 17.

    Rabee AM. Estimating the health risks associated with air pollution in Baghdad City, Iraq. Environ Monit Assess 2015;187(1):4203.CrossrefWeb of SciencePubMedGoogle Scholar

  • 18.

    Zayir Al-Bakhat YM, Mahdi AO, Kitah FH, Marmardji SN, Ahmed AA, et al. Radiological characterization of destroyed nuclear reactor Tammuz-2 at Al-Tuwaitha site. J Madenat Alelem Coll 2012;4(2):111–123.Google Scholar

  • 19.

    Ali AFA-T, Shakir MA-J, Jabbar FA-M. Assessment of soil contamination in area surrounding tuwaitha nuclear facilities. J Madenat Alelem Coll 2012;4(1):14–32.Google Scholar

  • 20.

    Al-Atabi NR. Use of nuclear detectors of the solid state in the measurement of radon concentration in the soil in the area of Tuwaitha. J Al-Nahrain Uni – Sci 2008;11(3): 26–32.Google Scholar

  • 21.

    AbdolRazak TZ, AbdulHameed MJAO, Hisham MJAS. Cobalt-60 and cesium-137 soil contamination In Al Tuwaitha nuclear site, using GIS technique. Engineering Technol J 2014;32(13 Part (A) Engineering):3209–15.Google Scholar

  • 22.

    Abdol Razak TZ, Abdul Hameed MJAO, Hisham MJAS. Radioactive doses contamination in Al Tuwaitha nuclear site, Using GIS Techniques. Engineering Technol J 2013;31(9 Part (A) Engineering):1612–7.Google Scholar

  • 23.

    Zayir Al-Bakhat YM, Mugar HJ, Abdulhadi QA, Ameen NH, Kitah FH, et al. Assessment of radiological status for the destroyed nuclear fuel fabrication facility at AL-Tuwaitha site. J Madenat Alelem Coll 2014;6(1):40–52.Google Scholar

  • 24.

    AL-Tameemi NH. Radiological and chemical hazards of public exposure to uranium-235 at Al-Twaitha nuclear research site. Iraqi J Biotechnol 2010;9(2):226–38.Google Scholar

  • 25.

    Mutter AJ, Ali AK, Abdalrahman A, Yebar H, Faraj AH. Investigating genetic damage in peripheral lymphocytes of radiation workers at Al-Tuwaitha site in Iraq using four genetic end-points. J Biotechnol Res Cent 2014;8(2):5–10.Google Scholar

  • 26.

    Al-Rekabi ZG. Effect of pollution on reproduction traits and cytogenetics of sheep in Al-Tuwaitha region, Baghdad. Iraqi J Biotechnol 2009;8(2):521–31.Google Scholar

  • 27.

    Al-Tameel AA, Mahmood IA, Habeeb HAA. Effect of environmental conditionsions on some biological aspects of Drosophila melanogaster Meigen (Diptera: Drosophilidae) collected from Saidiya and Tuwaitha regions in Baghdad. Baghdad Sci J 2011;8(1):222–8.Google Scholar

  • 28.

    Shakir MMA-J. Track detection technique using CR-39 for determining depleted uranium in biological specimens. J Madenat Alelem Coll 2013;5(2):5–14.Google Scholar

  • 29.

    Shafik SS. Study and measurements of the uranium and amorphous crystals concentrations in urine samples of breast cancer female patients. Iraqi J Physics 2014;12(25):113–22.Google Scholar

  • 30.

    Salman SM. Study the Effect of depleted uranium used by coalition forces in increasing of cancer disease in Diyala governorate. J Research Diyala Humanity 2008;29:144–9.Google Scholar

  • 31.

    Mahmoud AA, ABdullah EM. Effect of depleted uranium as one of nuclear waste on the collapse of the immune system and the spread of cancerous diseases and the impact of higher cost through treatment. J Kerbala Uni 2012;10(2): 88–101.Google Scholar

  • 32.

    Alborz A. Environmental characteristics and prevalence of birth defects among children in post-war Iraq: implications for policies on rebuilding the Iraqi education system. Med Confl Surviv 2013;29(1):26–44.CrossrefPubMedGoogle Scholar

  • 33.

    Najeba Abdulah H, Nada Fadil T, Sabiha AB. Measurement of uranium concentration in soil of middle of Iraq using CR’V 39 track detector. Baghdad Sci J 2011;8(2):451–5.Google Scholar

  • 34.

    Abdul-Wahid R. Depleted uranium effects on immunophenotyphing of human lymphocytes in Southern Iraq. Iraqi J Commun Med 2009;22(4):249–53.Google Scholar

  • 35.

    Abdullah YK. Determination of trace metals in hair samples of Iraqis people living in suburban and urban in Basrah governate,southern of Iraq. J Thi-Qar Sci 2014;4(3):58–67.Google Scholar

  • 36.

    Atheer QM, Hiba MS. Determination of uranium concentration in soil of baghdad governorate and its effect on mitotic index assay. Iraqi J Sci 2015;56(1A):140–6.Google Scholar

  • 37.

    Essam MRD, Lutfi MMS, Roaa TA. Determination of uranium concentrations in some plants and soils samples from Baghdad-Iraq using CN-85 track detector. J Madenat Alelem Coll 2012;4(2):124–34.Google Scholar

  • 38.

    Abbas AA, Mohammed AH, Karim MS. Measurement of uranium concentrations in human blood in some the regions of Baghdad Governorate. Ibn Al-Haitham J Pure Appl Sci 2010;23(2):25–32.Google Scholar

  • 39.

    Alaani S, Al-Fallouji MAR, Busby C, Hamdan M. Pilot study of congenital anomaly rates at birth in Fallujah, Iraq, 2010. J IMA 2012;44(1):44-1-10463.PubMedGoogle Scholar

  • 40.

    Humade AA. A study of some biological and biochemical indicators to Al-Falluja citizens after the second invasion of the city by multi-national forces. Al-Anbar J Vet Sci 2013;6(1): 248–61.Google Scholar

  • 41.

    Kharrufa HD. Determination of radon and uranium concentration in some affected areas in Mosul city. Coll Basic Edcu Res J 2012;12(2):661–74.Google Scholar

  • 42.

    Fathi RA, Matti LY, Al-Salih HS, Godbold D. Environmental pollution by depleted uranium in Iraq with special reference to Mosul and possible effects on cancer and birth defect rates. Med Confl Surviv 2013;29(1):7–25.PubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 43.

    Samir M.A.-m.M.R.A.-B. Environment radiological pollution from the use of depleted uranium weaponry against Thi qar Governorate during 2003 War. J Uni Thi-Qar 2006;2(2):1–8.Google Scholar

  • 44.

    Nada FT, Ali Sh MH, Ahmed AM. Assessment of depleted uranium contamination in selective Iraqi soils. J Al-Nahrain Uni – Sci 2008;11(1):74–81.Google Scholar

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, Volume 31, Issue 2, Pages 245–250, ISSN (Online) 2191-0308, ISSN (Print) 0048-7554, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2015-0024.

Export Citation

©2016 by De Gruyter.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Geir Bjørklund, Olav Albert Christophersen, Salvatore Chirumbolo, Olle Selinus, and Jan Aaseth
Environmental Research, 2017, Volume 156, Page 526

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in