[CML 004069] ロイター（5.11.2010）「劣化ウランはイラクの人々の生命を脅かしている」
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2010年 5月 12日 (水) 20:00:43 JST
5月11日、”Depleted uranium threatens Iraqi lives, experts
Reuters report: 5.11.2010
Depleted uranium from ordnance threatens thousands of lives around the
Iraqi oil hub of Basra, Iraqi experts say.
In the area surrounding the Iraqi rich oil city of Basra, pummelled by
years of war and swamped with industrial and agricultural pollution,
there are concerns that cancer cases are on the rise due to the
presence of depleted uranium found in war debris in the area.
Incidences of cancer, deformed babies and other health problems have
risen sharply in the area, Iraqi officials say. And although it is
difficult for doctors to isolate specific causes for cancer, many
suspect contamination from weapons used in years of war and
accompanying unchecked pollution as a cause.
Residents of the town of Abu al-Khaseeb, about 20km (12 miles) south
of Basra, have for years lived among mounds of scrap metal that
include war debris, the brown rust flaking off into the wind and
carried into peoples homes, food, and lungs.
Locals say Iraqi and US. teams surveyed heaps of scrap metal scattered
in residential areas. But no procedures were taken to remove the metal
contaminated with uranium, they say.
"This mound of scrap metal is harmful to the health , this is the
radiation from the war. They came here three times and said ninety
percent of the scrap metal is a harmful, but no action has been taken
so far. It has not been removed yet," said Mohammed Hussein , a
resident of the area.
Large quantities of depleted uranium were used in the first Gulf War
in 1990, some of it near Basra.
Hussein believes that some of the people he knows are ill because of
their exposure to contaminated metal.
"Now, you can see different types of disease, there is a man who got
cancer, we have been told that because of the contaminated scrap metal
. There is another man whose leg will be cut also because of the
contaminated scrap metal. My mother suddenly lost her sight , all the
cases are because of radioactive pollution,'' he said.
The use of depleted uranium in US. and coalition weaponry in the 1991
war to liberate Kuwait and the 2003 Iraq invasion is well documented,
but establishing a link between the radioactive metal and health
problems among Iraqis is hard, officials say.
Zuhair Mohammed Ali, deputy head of technical committee in Basra
provincial council, said that the radioactive pollution varies from
one area to another, and that not all areas are contaminated with
"The rate of pollution is different from one area to another. Everyone
expects the rate of pollution to be the same everywhere and this is
not the case. For instance the rate of pollution is one percent in the
centre of town (in Basra), but it is two percent in Hayaniya city (a
slum in Basra city). I expect the rate of pollution to be high in Abu
al-Khaseeb town and in al-Madinaa town because we found big pieces of
war debris during our visit to these locations,'' he said.
Zuhair added that around 46,000 tones of contaminated scrap metal with
uranium will be buried at deserted area near the Iraqi-Saudi border.
"Around 46,000 tones of contaminated scrap metal are in Basra, most of
the contaminated scraps will be removed to Khrashej area near the
Iraqi-Saudi border to be buried . It will not affect water
underground," he added.
A 2007 Basra University medical journal report found "no major rise"
in cancer death rates, but that the proportion of children dying of
cancer in Basra had jumped 65 percent in 1997 and 60 percent in 2005,
compared to cases in 1989.
Uranium is a toxic heavy metal which is also radioactive. If it is
inhaled or enters the body through the skin, it can stay there for
decades. Some illnesses associated with exposure to uranium are lung
fibrosis and different types of cancer, and vital organs such as the
kidneys can also be damaged.