Post-war environmental pollution as a risk factor of congenital disorders in Iraq: A study review

Abstract

Background: Several years of war with the recent terrorist conflicts have cumulatively affectedIraq’s land, air, water, and health infrastructure, and a substantial rise in the incidence ofcongenital defects has been reported in the period following the Gulf War in 1991, which wasprincipally accredited to the environmental contamination by depleted uranium.Aim: The aim is to review some published works of literature that are specifically concerned withenvironmental pollution after the war in Iraq as a possible risk factor for developmental disorders.Patients and Methods: In addition to the published articles, this review includes a directdescriptive data of congenital anomalies, which was obtained from Al-Khansaa, Al-Salaam, AlBatool Teaching Hospitals of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and General Mosul Hospital in Mosulcity over a period of 12 months, starting from October 2017 to October 2018.Results: All of the research related to this topic were discussed, and most of them revealed that ahigher incidence of congenital disorders was detected among people exposed directly or indirectlyto post-war environmental pollution by depleted uranium (DU) and other chemical constituents.From the analysis of the scientific publications, we observed that Basrah, Baghdad, Falluja, Mosuland Al-Anbar are predominantly affected by war contamination. The study revealed that therewere 317 cases of birth defects out of the 44,372 newborns delivered over a period of one yearafter war in Mosul; thus, the overall percentage of congenital disorders was 0.71%, and defectsof the nervous system were the most prominent, among which anencephaly was the predominantcondition. The highest percentage of anomalies was detected in the maternal age of 21–26 andmore in female newborns.Conclusion: We must decrease parental exposure to the possible teratogens through prenatalcounseling and public education about the penalties of environmental pollution in order to arrangepractical guidelines for public health and to alleviate the outcome of pregnancy.Keywords: pollution, congenital, post-war,environmental, review