Seattle Times, updated Jan 28, 2016 (emphasis added): How the state is missing chances to find deadly birth defect’s cause… at least 40 other mothers have lost babies to [anencephaly, which result in missing large parts of the brain] in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties since 2010… one of the largest documented clusters of anencephaly in U.S. history… “Something’s going on and someone needs to tell us,” said [mother Sally] Garcia… Dr. Lisa Galbraith was one of the doctors… In Prosser, the obstetrician oversaw care of Garcia’s pregnancy and others affected by the disorder… “I had a total of four or five babies with anencephaly over the course of two years,” recalled Galbraith… the rate of anencephaly was much higher [than US averages]… Washington health officials… have collected no blood samples, performed no genetic tests and conducted no examination of water, soil… and have no plans to do so… In Texas, just three babies with anencephaly sparked enough outrage to overhaul the state’s birth-defects reporting system.
Seattle Times video transcript – Carlen Majnarich, funeral director: “It’s tragic… It just seems like that’s pretty much all I see on the death certificate is the same diagnosis. And nobody seems to know why. We average close to 100 families a year here in Prosser [a few miles from Hanford]. Almost all the infants that we have have died of anencephaly. It’s just what do you say?”… Sally Garcia (mother who lost her baby to anencephaly): “All these on this side [of the cemetery] are all babies… all babies, starting from right there.”
The Legal Examiner, Dec 31, 2015: [T]he strange eruption of anencephaly cases, which occurs in Washington at a rate almost 5 times as high as the national average, has highlighted a number of government policies that may actually conceal these sort of birth defect “clusters,” rather than help investigate them.
KVEW-TV, Mar 4, 2016: As of November 2015 cases of anencephaly have continued to increase with the current rate at 9.5 per 10,000 live births.
Sara Barron, MS, BSN – American Journal of Nursing, Mar 2016: In the spring of 2012 two babies without brains were born within weeks of each other at the rural hospital in Washington State where I was working… I was stunned when the delivering physician said another patient was expecting the same outcome. After speaking with colleagues at neighboring hospitals, I learned that two other babies with anencephaly had recently been born in the area. In over 30 years of nursing, I had seen only two cases of anencephaly prior to these. I called the Washington State Department of Health and reported a birth defect cluster… RISK FACTORS… Radiation exposure. Popular media and blogs have often linked the Washington State NTD cluster to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Benton County, Washington. Although leaks from nuclear power plants have been associated with a higher rate of anencephaly and other NTDs, Washington State Department of Health investigators point out that the three counties with the highest prevalence of NTDs were both upwind and upriver of the Hanford site, making the nuclear plant an unlikely cause of the 2012 cluster.
- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “The Hanford Site… is widely considered to be the most contaminated place in the Western Hemisphere”
- KOIN: “The biggest, most toxic nuclear waste site in the Western hemisphere”
- Time: “The largest nuclear clean-up site in the western hemisphere”
- AFP: “The Western hemisphere’s most contaminated nuclear site“”
More infant deaths near Hanford: Cemetery blocks filled w/ babies downwind of US nuclear site — Mother: My newborns died in hours… tumors all over, brain disintegrated after massive stroke — “Body parts, cadavers, fetuses… nuke industry took in the dead of night”
Published: March 23rd, 2016 at 10:04 am ET