Lead poisoning and white matter abnormalities are two of the most lethal toxic outcomes, the impact of which can be irreversible. The toxins can poison both one's physiology and mind.
Against the prohibitions set out in international agreements, biological agents have become a consistent theme of the past 30 years.
With time, the legacy of toxin warfare becomes more crippling. The number of children born with birth defects, lead poisoning and cognitive and respiratory illnesses are higher now than they were in the 90s.
Several studies published by Al Anbar medical journal have discussed the prevalence of lead toxicity in children, while offering missing background to potential causes.
Findings from the samples Anbar university researchers tested, offer irrefutable proof of environmental pollution due to persistent chemical agents use, in north-western territories, as the leading cause behind these difficult to diagnose illnesses.
Exposure to biological weapons has visibly attacked the immunity system of many children, impacting the brain, liver, kidney and bones. Unborn children can also be affected if their mothers carry lead in their bones.
Although there is no scarcity of studies probing the toxification of public life in Iraq, less explored is white matter disease and the axonal brain injuries it causes.
Due to sporadic attacks on densely populated areas, the rate of children reported with traumatic brain injuries and white matter abnormalities is climbing.
Exposure at the highest level targets first the brain and nervous system.
“Children who survive acute lead poisoning are typically left with grossly obvious mental retardation and behavioural disruption”, a World Health Organization (WHO) report from 2010 concluded.
Milder cases have also caused violent convulsions, behavioral changes and cognitive impairment.
FRB has been following a fistful of cases of children from Salahaldin, Anbar and Ninevah province, believed to be suffering from white matter abnormalities.
The circumstances surrounding the rapid decline in their health are identical. The trigger, across 5 separate cases, were aerial attacks on the homes of the children.
If damage to the white matter tissue of the brain causes the death of a neural tissue, resulting impairments are untreatable for both adults and children.
Experts fear that misprescriptions have caused further adverse health effects, due to the difficulty of correct diagnosis of cases.
Some parents have been told there is little hope for their child, while others have been misdiagnosed with epilepsy.
Dilapidated health care services and government fixated with fighting terror, makes the immediate treatment of children in need improbable. The use of deadly agents responsible for the toxification of early lives, is and has always been the case, a byproduct of Iraq’s churning wars. The defeat of terrorist factions has been the government’s priority for the last ten years. Unless this changes, the health of these children will deteriorate.