1971 Iraq poison grain disaster

From WikiMD's Health & Wellness Encyclopedia

The 1971 Iraq poison grain disaster was a mass methylmercury poisoning incident that began in late 1971. Grain treated with a methylmercury fungicide and never intended for human consumption was imported into Iraq as seed grain from Mexico and the United States. Due to a number of factors, including foreign-language labelling and late distribution within the growing cycle, this toxic grain was consumed as food by Iraqi residents in rural areas. People suffered from paresthesia (numbness of skin), ataxia (lack of coordination of muscle movements) and vision loss, symptoms similar to those seen when Minamata disease affected Japan. The recorded death toll was 459 people, but figures at least ten times greater have been suggested. The 1971 poisoning was the largest mercury poisoning disaster..

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