AP, Apr. 23, 2014: Puzzling rare birth defects in Eastern Washington — The state Health Department is trying to find the cause of an unusually high number of rare birth defects in south-central Washington.
NBC, Apr. 22, 2014 (emphasis added): Seven cases of a rare fatal birth defect were reported in a remote region of Washington state in 2013 [...] There’s still no clear reason for the spike in anencephaly, a severe defect in which babies are born missing parts of the brain or skull, according to Washington state health officials. [...] it brings to 30 the number of cases reported since 2010 in the area that includes Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties [...] rate jumped to 8.7 cases per 10,000 births in the region, far exceeding the national rate of 2.1 [...] Critics have said state and federal officials need to do detailed interviews and a thorough investigation of the central Washington cluster. Many local residents are convinced that leaking tanks of nuclear waste from the region’s nearby Hanford nuclear plant must be to blame, but Dr. Edith Cheng, a University Washington Medicine expert on birth defects, said there has not been a good evaluation of the plant’s impact [...]
Yakima Herald Republic, Apr. 22, 2014 (emphasis added): The explanation might be a perfect storm of social, economic, genetic and environmental factors, said epidemiologist Mandy Stahre [...] They did not show up seasonally, as would probably be the case if they were tied to pesticide exposure [...] They’re not focused near the Hanford site [??? See above map showing the 3 counties affected] Stahre said, the Health Department would have reported it by now [if that was the case.] Genetic counselor Susie Ball says that for birth defects like anencephaly to happen, there needs to be overlap of both genetic predisposition and environmental factors.
Mandy Stahre, CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service officer: “We’re really concerned about the fact that the anencephaly rates are still so high. We were sort of hoping that this may have been a statistical anomaly or would go away.”
Institute for Children’s Environmental Health: Sever et al. (1988) [...] found elevated rates of neural tube defects [including anencephaly] in Franklin and Benton Counties
See also: CNN: “Horrible medical mystery… alarming rate of birth defects” in Washington — Babies missing parts of brain, skull — Mother outraged at gov’t — Nurse: “It’s very scary… absolutely something going on”
Published: April 24th, 2014 at 12:58 am ET
- “Worrisome” spike in deadly birth defects around leaking U.S. nuclear site — Officials claim “it could be a complete coincidence” — No news reports mention it’s by the most contaminated area in Western Hemisphere #Hanford July 22, 2013
- CNN: “Horrible medical mystery… alarming rate of birth defects” in Washington — Babies missing parts of brain, skull — Mother outraged at gov’t — Nurse: “It’s very scary… absolutely something going on” — Cluster surrounds most polluted US nuclear site, yet never mentioned by media or officials (VIDEO) March 1, 2014
- NBC: ‘Bizarre’ cluster of severe birth defects haunts experts in Pacific Northwest — “I definitely believe something is going on… Maybe it just hit once and blew through” — Officials refused to say how many new cases in 2013 — County on border of most polluted nuclear site in Hemisphere February 18, 2014
- New data shows babies missing brains at 2,500% national rate in county by nuclear site — Mother: Officials “shut me down the minute I mentioned Hanford!… WE NEED ANSWERS!” — Experts: No birth defect is more extreme; It’s the most significant impact of radiation on developing embryos (AUDIO) November 30, 2014
- TV: 8 times more babies than usual born without brain near U.S. nuclear site; Much higher rate than anywhere else in country — “It’s scary the cause is such a mystery” — CNN: Experts speak out over failure of officials to conduct proper investigation — “The lamest excuse I’ve ever heard” (VIDEO) June 23, 2014