[ RadSafe ] Comment invited on Christopher Busby Articles

Roger Helbig rhelbig at sfo.com
Fri Jan 21 19:33:06 CST 2011

Christopher Busby has submitted three articles to the International Journal
of Environmental Research & Public Health.  Two have been published and I
would like to invite members of this list to read and comment upon them.  I
have raised questions about the second article about Fallujah because it has
been used as the "scientific" basis of a massive world-wide campaign to
associate observed birth defects in Fallujah, Iraq with depleted uranium,
which never was used in Fallujah.  In an e-mail to me, Busby derisively told
me "No one said in the paper that it was DU, we know quite well what it was
and probably so do you.".  Since Busby's co-author is listed as a member of
the "people's war crimes" Brussels Tribunal "kangaroo court", I strongly
doubt that the article is scientifically objective.  The journal is quite
adamant that it is.  They also claim that a follow-on article by Paola
Manduca and Mozghan Savabiesfahani, who I have learned seems to be implying
a non-existent academic connection to the University of Michigan, is also
scientifically sound.  That article blames an allegedly observed massive
increase in birth defects on US weaponry, but only discusses Agent Orange,
which was used in Vietnam and not in Iraq, and depleted uranium along with
referencing the long known to not be scientifically objective article by
Rita Hindin et a, about the Teratogenicity of Depleted Uranium that
frequently has been cited in postings to this list.  That article has now
been cited in a massive campaign as proof that DU caused birth defects in
Fallujah.  Neither article makes any attempt to determine if there are other
more logical causes like arranged marriages between close family members,
nutrition or stress.  


Here are links to the two articles by Busby - I invite you to comment to the
list and to the Editor-in-Chief, Dr Paul Tchounwou
(paul.b.tchounwou at jsums.edu )


Very Low Dose Fetal Exposure to Chernobyl Contamination Resulted in
Increases in Infant Leukemia in Europe and Raises Questions about Current
Radiation Risk Models


Received: 13 October 2008 / Accepted: 25 November 2009 / Published: 7
December 2009

Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009


Received: 7 June 2010; in revised form: 23 June 2010 / Accepted: 30 June
2010 / Published: 6 July 2010


Here is the link to Manduca/Savabiesfahani article 

Four Polygamous Families with Congenital Birth Defects from Fallujah, Iraq


Received: 27 October 2010; in revised form: 3 December 2010 / Accepted: 21
December 2010 / Published: 31 December 2010


The first mention of depleted uranium occurs here


Teratogens in the postwar environment include metals and metal alloys which
persist in the environment and in the body, and are potential risks to
health (genotoxic, fetotoxic and epigenetic mechanisms of action). Metals
are involved in regulating genome stability, in X chromosome inactivation,
in gene imprinting, and in reprogramming gene expression. They act as
metalloestrogens, inhibit DNA repair, alter DNA methylation, change
transcriptome and microRNAs production, histone acetylation and methylation;
all of which can lead to birth defects, whether translated into mutations or
not [4]. As a consequence of internal radiation, some metals can induce
sporadic gene mutations or oxidative DNA damage. In the case of depleted
uranium (DU) it is unclear whether its radiation-derived mutational effects
or its chemical toxic effects are more relevant. DU can induce epigenetic
changes that are associated with leukemia via hypomethylation of the DNA.
Exposure to teratogens of either father or mothers are potentially effective
to induce birth defects at the epigenetic as well as the genetic level. In
the cases we report here, the pattern of presentation does not exclude the
contribution of either parent: the epigenetic changes are likely to behave
as stochastic and not striclty deterministic events, and lack of effects in
one of the two families branch with the same father cannot exclude his
contribution to the occurrence of birth defects in the other family branch.
Nonetheless, pregnant mothers' exposure to metal contaminants is potentially
more relevant to the development of malformations in the case of Family 107,
where both wives had deformed babies, but with different phenotypes, and
where the daughter of one of the mothers, who herself delivered a child with
atrophic and ectopic kidney, had a child with multiple skeletal and dermal
abnormalities. There are no known candidate mutations governing both kidney
and skeletal/dermal development, and it is likely that independent exposure
to effectors in the environment during both pregnancies induced diverse
epigenetic effects in the developing offspring. Prenatal exposure best
explain, but also paternal exposure could account for, the cases in those
families where only the progeny of one spouse presented birth defects which
recurred in diverse phenotypes. Cases in point are the still births and
ventricular septal defect (VDS) in Family 139 and multiple cases of child
leukemia and TOF in Family 1.


The second and last mention is here - Agent Orange is also thrown in for
good measure along with the Hindin article


Frequent miscarriages in several women during the last years are also
indicative of a general negative (teratogenic) load from the environment.
Epidemiological evidence on birth defects which are caused by war
contaminants is common in the literature. Hindin et al. offered a review of
epidemiological studies on the teratogenicity of DU and concludes that human
epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth defects
in the offspring of persons exposed to this war contaminant [5]. Studies in
another war contaminant, Agent Orange, also find parental exposure to be
associated with an increased risk of birth defects in the offspring [6].


We conclude that the high prevalence of birth defects in Fallujah is
impairing the population's health and its capacity to care for the surviving
children. These defects could be due to environmental contaminants which are
known components of modern weaponry. Investigations of metal contaminants,
and elucidation of the types and body burden of metals, combined with
simultaneous registry of the population's reproductive history, will allow
the identification of families at high risk and will facilitate therapeutic
measures to remediate the damages.


We also recognize ―Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalize War for funding.


5. Hindin, R.; Brugge, D.; Panikkar, B. Teratogenicity of depleted uranium
aerosols: A review from an epidemiological perspective. Environ. Health
2005, 4, 17. 


This then was used to launch articles everywhere that accuse US use of
depleted uranium for this alleged high number of birth defects - 

BBC interview with Dr. Savabieasfahani regarding the Falluajah birth defects
epidemic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05KdoY7CKG4

Guardian article on the Fallujah birth defects epidemic:

Daily Telegraph article announcing the publication of the Fallujah study:

Arab American News in Dearborn, Michigan got picked up by
<http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m73705&hd=&size=1&l=e> &hd=&size=1&l=e






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