Clusters of rare birth defects appear in Washington State

Last month, NBC and a number of other corporate news sites reported on cluster of extremely rare and severe birth defects in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties in Washington State. The reports stated there have been over two dozen cases of anencephaly (a condition which blocks the development of parts of the brain and skull) and spina bifida (a related condition in which the neural tube fails to close properly). The national average rate of anencephaly is 2.1 per 10,000. In Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties between 2010 and 2013 the average was 8.4 per 10,000.

In the NBC coverage of the story, the reporter quoted CDC health scientist Jim Kucik, who claimed “A group of birth defects can appear to be related, when it’s actually just coincidence”. Other possibilities mentioned in the article included: lack of folic acid, complications related to obesity and diabetes, and exposure to fumonisins, grain molds and/or pesticides. Surprisingly, and suspiciously (especially for NBC which is partly owned by GE, a nuclear power manufacturer), there was no mention made of the fact that anencephaly was one of the most common birth defects among the offspring of radiation-poisoned survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb explosions (see: Radiation Effects Research Foundation), and that the Yakima-Benton-Franklin Tri-Cities area happens to be near the Hanford Nuclear Plant.

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What Caused a Cluster of Rare Birth Defects in Washington State?.

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