An epidemiologist said on Wednesday that there was no cancer epidemic in Serbia, adding such information was “invented and false”.
Dr Zoran Radovanovic told N1 that many experts said that news on an increased number of cancer patients in the country following the 1999 NATO bombing was not accurate.
Radovanovic commented on Serbia’s Parliament commission tasked with the investigation into the consequences of NATO depleted uranium ammunition it dropped on the country during March - June 1999 campaign to halt what was internationally described as Belgrade oppression over ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
In answer to N1 in early May, NATO said it believed that the depleted uranium munitions expended during the war in Kosovo did not pose a health risk to the population.
The Alliance added that a 2001 UN Environment Programme report also concluded that sites with depleted uranium pose no significant health risks.
However, Serbia’s parliamentary Commission was formally established on Tuesday, gathering experts who believe that depleted uranium caused both the rise in sterility and cancer cases.
But Radovanovic said that Commission ignored real experts, and that proof that depleted uranium was causing cancer did not exist.
“What is worrying is that the Commission got a firm mandate to prove the link between cancer and uranium,” Radovanovic said.
He added that “everything is a political game. Our environment is neglected and stands as a major obstacle on the road to the European Union.”
He said that if there were a link between malignant diseases and ammunition armed with depleted uranium, the number of patients with leukaemia would have increased by 2001, and reached its peak in 2005 or 2006.
"Instead,” he said, “it was a drop in the number of cases” during that time.
However, another doctor, a gynaecologist, Dragan Krstic, a member of the Commission who got his PhD with the thesis on NATO bombing consequences, the only such doctorate in Serbia, said the air campaign was just a tip of the iceberg.
He added that “we have been destroyed for years”, adding the problem was not just uranium and that “somebody is insisting on that side of the story.”
He did not elaborate further.