Examination the reasons of the spread and increase in cases of disabilities and birth defects among the population of Al-Jarrahi District of the Al-Hodeidah Governorate
National Atomic Energy Commission of Yemen (NATEC), Sana’a
This research aims to study the causes of the prevalence and increase of disabilities and birth defects among citizens in the “Al-Jarrahi” district, which currently has reached more than 600 cases, according to data provided by the district’s Health Office. 68% of these cases are birth defects, and 32% have arisen at later stages among children and adults. The physical disabilities have reached about 28% of total cases, while hearing, visual, and speech impairment have accounted for 24% of total cases, and about 10% of cases are related to mental retardation and brain atrophy. In addition, about 33% of the disabled have more than one case of deformity and disability whereas about 2% have a total disability. The disabilities ratio between males and females are about 60% and 40%, respectively. The data also showed that the number of cases have increased steadily over time with an average increasing factor of 1.5 for every ten years before the year 2000 AD, and for every five years during the period from 2000 to 2020. The period with the highest increase was during the period from 2011 to 2015.
At this study, radiation and chemical measurements of soil and drinking water have been carried out across most parts of the district. The results of chemical measurements showed a high concentration of mercury element in more than 90% of drinking water wells in which its concentration ranged between 0.0030 and 0.125 mg/liter with an average of 0.036 mg/liter which is considered more than thirty times of the permissible limit according to the specification approved by the Yemeni Organization for Standardization and Metrology. In addition, the mercury element concentration increased in some wells reach more than 100 times the permissible limit, whereas the results of radiation measurements showed that the radioactivity concentrations are within the normal limits. The mercury element has toxic effects and significant health risks, as it will be the main reason for the increase in cases of disabilities and distortions due to its presence in the most studied drinking water wells, and due to its toxic effects that are consistent with the types of disabilities and congenital deformities existing among the residents there.
Keywords: birth defects and disabilities, mercury, chemical elements, radioactive nuclides, drinking water.1-01072022-28-39 SJ of NATEC