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Elevated Birth Defect Rate Tied to Gulf War Service
(May 1, 2003) According to Birth Defects Research for Children, Inc., new research from the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego and the Birth Defects and Pediatric Genetics Branch of the Centers for Disease Control shows a higher incidence of birth defects in children of Gulf War veterans than in children of non-deployed soldiers. The study, Prevalence of Birth Defects Among Infants of Gulf War Veterans in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, and Iowa, 1989-1999, was led by Dr. Happy Araneta. The researchers found that offspring of active male soldiers had higher rates of certain heart and kidney defects than non-deployed veterans. The children of female soldiers that served in the Gulf War showed a higher prevalence for a genitourinary defect called hypospadias.

Gulf War veterans' health problems are not a new concern. An overwhelming number of these soldiers are suffering from various problems including nerve damage, widespread pain, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headaches, cognitive problems and sleep disruptions. These complaints began rolling in months after the servicemen and women returned from the Gulf region.

The various symptoms exhibited by Gulf War veterans are associated with pesticide poisoning. In fact, veterans who handled pesticides were found to suffer more nerve damage than those who did not. In January 2001, the Department of Defense admitted that pesticides, especially organophosphates and carbamates, might have caused the serious damage that was done to these soldiers. Beyond Pesticides covered this story in the January 16, 2001 edition of Daily News.

See: Araneta, M, Schlangen, K, Edmonds L et al. Prevalence of Birth Defects Among Infants of Gulf War Veterans in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, and Iowa, 1989-1993. Birth Defects Research (Part A) 67:246-260 (2003), Wiley-Liss, Inc.