American Univesity of Beirut

Weaponised uranium and adverse health outcomes in Iraq: a systematic review

​​​​​​​​​​​AUB: A systematic review published in BMJ Global Health identified, appraised and synthesized all human observational studies that assessed the adverse health outcomes associated with Depleted Uranium exposure among the Iraqi population. For her thesis project under the supervision of Professor Rima R. Habib from the Department of Environmental Health, Shelby Surdyk searched 11 electronic databases for publications between 1990 and 2020. The search strategy identified studies that measured association between exposure to weaponised uranium and health outcomes (including cancer, birth defects, immune system function and mortality) among the Iraqi population. Thirty-three articles reporting on 36 eligible studies were included in the final review. The findings showed that most studies (83%) reported a positive association between uranium exposure and adverse health outcomes. However, the results also revealed that there was generally a high risk of bias across the body of evidence. The review highlighted the need for more primary research and the release of missing data in order to design meaningful health and policy interventions in Iraq.

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