Why are generations born after NATO bombing at risk?

A study has been conducted on a generation of children born after NATO's aggression on Serbia in 1999.

Source: RTS
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Air defense fire is seen in Serbia during NATO's attacks (EPA-EFE, file, illustration)
Air defense fire is seen in Serbia during NATO's attacks (EPA-EFE, file, illustration)

President of the Commission for Investigating Consequence of the NATO bombing Darko Laketic announced this on Thursday.

He told the public broadcaster RTS that this research has been conducted together with the Batut Institute of public health, because it was possible to exclude all risk factors with the young population, unlike with adults - giving the results great scientific value.

Laketic said that the study showed the presence of a toxin that made children aged five to nine more susceptible to malignant disease.

In the next phase of the research, the Commission will try to identify which toxin is in question, Laketic added.

The research was conducted on the generation of children born after NATO's bombing of Serbia for 78 days in the spring of 1999.

"Some time must pass from the moment of exposure to the toxin until the disease is manifested. For malignant diseases of the blood it takes about eight years, while for solid tissue tumors from 14 to 18 years. We have enough time distance now to do the research", says Laketic.

During the war, NATO used ammunition with depleted uranium, and Laketic explained that there is clean and dirty depleted uranium.

"Clean depleted uranium is created as a by-product of fission in (nuclear) reactors. Dirty depleted uranium is the spent nuclear fuel that also contains traced of plutonium, americium, and these increase the toxicity. Significantly, depleted uranium is nephrotoxic (damaging the kidneys), cytotoxic (damaging living cells), and carcinogenic," said Laketic.

He explained that uranium ion, which easily reacts with biological molecules, is what makes depleted uranium harmful.

Laketic recalled that during the bombing, NATO also targeted infrastructure facilities that contain compounds with strong negative effect on human health than uranium. He mentioned the town of Kragujevac as an example, where electrical substations full of transformer oil came under attack.

"Transformer oil contains pyralene, which is one of the most carcinogenic substances. Pyralen then spilled into Lepenica (River)," Laketic said.

He stressed that Serbia can now implement preventive measures, early treatment and environmental cleanup where necessary.

Laketic recalled that the NATO aggression was carried out illegally - without the approval of the UN Security Council. Therefore, he added, Serbia has the right to seek assistance in medical treatment, prevention, environmental rehabilitation, "primarily from Western countries."

The first full preliminary report on the consequences of the bombing will be published in 2020.

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