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New Zealand’s Contribution to Rebuilding Iraq
is better done through existing work with the UN and Red Cross, through scholarships and agricultural assistance, said Keith Locke on 9 June. He was opposing the Government sending army personnel to serve with British forces in Iraq. Joining the British force would discredit NZ with the Iraqi people, he said. Similarly, assistance to Afghanistan should take the form of civilian aid, not more military personnel. Read
Speech in Parliament
16 June 7-30pm, St Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby –
‘Aceh – the new East Timor? What must we do?’
– the political background, the human rights crisis and how New Zealand can help; with speakers including: Margaret Taylor, Amnesty International; Maire Leadbeater, Indonesia Human Rights Committee; Keith Locke, Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson; and a video about the Aceh People’s Struggle. Easy access to venue with ample parking behind building. Organised by Pax Christi and Indonesia Human Rights Committee, for more info contact email
xtra [dot] co [dot] nz
clear [dot] net [dot] nz
The Dangers of Depleted Uranium
LISTEN to Rob Green, of the Security and Disarmament Centre of the Peace Foundation, and International Chair of the World Court Project, talk about the dangers of depleted uranium use in Iraq and elsewhere. What is New Zealand doing about it? A 30 minute Earthwise community radio interview, available on CD. Send $10 (cheques made out to Green Party) to CD, P.O. Box 46, Diamond Harbour 8030
Rob discusses the damage done to the veterans of the first Gulf War, and their children (and much more) in the interview. For studies of birth defects in Gulf war veterans, see the story and Web links below.
Birth Defects Seen in Gulf War Vets’ Kids
3 June 2003
SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer
Children of veterans of the first Gulf War are more likely to have three
specific birth defects than those of soldiers who never served in the Gulf, a [US] government study has found.
Researchers found the infants born to male veterans of the 1991 war had higher rates of two types of heart valve defects. They also found a higher rate of a genital urinary defect in boys conceived after the war to Gulf War veteran mothers.
In addition, Gulf War veterans’ children born after the war had a certain kidney defect that was not found in Gulf War veterans’ children born before the war.
The researchers said they did not have enough information to link the birth defects to possible exposures to poisonous gases, pesticides and other toxic substances, which many Gulf War veterans suspect are culprits of their mysterious illnesses and their children’s health problems. They also did not have access to parents’ family histories and job exposures.
The study by the Department of Defense Naval Health Research Center and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined birth defect data from 1989-93.
In all, researchers identified 11,961 children born to Gulf War veterans and 33,052 children of veterans who had not been deployed in the Gulf. Of those, 450 had mothers who served in the Gulf and 3,966 had non-deployed mothers.
They found four sons of female Gulf War veterans with a 6.5 percent higher rate than non-deployed female veterans of a condition known as hypospaedia. Boys born with the condition have urethra openings located in the middle or the back of the penis.
In post-war conceived infants of male Gulf War veterans, researchers found 10 children with tricuspid valve insufficiency, a 2.7 percent higher rate, and five with aortic valve spinosis, 6 percent higher. Both are conditions in which heart valves do not function properly.
Five post-war children of male Gulf War veterans had renal aegenisis, a condition in which part of the kidney fails to grow and develop properly.
“It will be worthwhile to explore the causal relationship between wartime exposure, the occurrence of the four specific defects and the exposures of Gulf War veterans,” said Dr. Maria Rosa Araneta, a perinatal epidemiologist teaching at the University of California, San Diego. She worked for the naval center when the study was conducted.
The study was published in the April edition of Birth Defects Research.
Researchers continue to hunt for possible causes of the illnesses experienced by thousands of veterans from the first Gulf War. Many vets have complained of chronic fatigue, migraines, balance problems, chronic
joint pain and other symptoms. Some veterans were more likely to report birth defects in their offspring in a 2001 Veterans Affairs study.
Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director of the Pentagon’s Deployment Health
Support office, said the study “should not be used to say we found an answer.”
The study did not find significant increases in rates of multiple birth defects in Gulf War veterans’ children, he noted. But Araneta said differences are usually found when specific forms of a disease are studied, such as breast cancer rates versus overall cancer rates.
The authors’ also said in the study, larger sample sizes were needed for individual, less frequent birth defects, which Kilpatrick also noted.
Decades after the Vietnam War, Veterans Affairs provided health care and compensation for some Vietnam veterans’ children with certain birth defects.
“We think they should do the same for Gulf War veterans. These children have very serious and extraordinary problems and families have broken up over it,” said Betty Mekdeci, executive director of the Association for Birth Defects Children.
CDC researcher Larry Edmonds said the study also demonstrates the value of state-wide birth defects registries. Currently, 11 states have “active” registries in which a public nurse looks at several sources for comprehensive data on children with birth defects.
On the Net: Birth Defects Research, Inc.:
Naval Health Research Center:
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