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article imageChinese Birth Defects May Be Caused By Pollution

By KJ Mullins     Oct 30, 2007 in Health
Could pollution be the cause of birth defects in China? The country is blaming the heavy pollution for damaging children. Some of the world's most polluted cities lie in China so it stands to reason that pollution could be a key factor in this matter.
There has been a 6 per cent rise in infants born with cleft palates and extra fingers and toes. Since 2001 the total number of birth defects has risen 40 percent. Up to 12 million more children have developed defects during their childhood according to timesonline.
Part of the increase may though have to do with better reporting of birth defects within rural China. In the past any defect could cause a family shame which has changed.
In the higher coal rich regions infants born with disabilities is even higher. The mining not only stripping away the landscape but also poisoning the rivers and soil.
An Huanxiao, director of the family planning agency in the coal-rich northern province of Shanxi, had few doubts. “The incidence of birth defects is related to environmental pollution. The survey’s statistics show that birth defects in Shanxi’s eight large coalmining regions are far above the national average.”
The top five defects that are facing Chinese infants are cleft palate, neural tube defects, extra fingers or toes, congenital heart disease and water on the brain. It is not known how they are connected to polluted air or water but China is planning on doing research on the matter.
According to a recent World Bank study about 460,000 Chinese die an early death from their intact of polluted air and water.
China's carbon dioxide emissions are 16 per cent of the world's total. They though do not have the highest emission rate, that falls to the United States at 22 per cent.
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