Sharp Rise In China Birth Defects

New statistics show an alarming rise in birth defects in China, apparently due to air pollution. From China Daily:

Every 30 seconds, a baby is born with physical defects in China, all thanks to the country’s degrading environment, an official of the National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC) has said.

“The number of newborns with birth defects is constantly increasing in both urban and rural areas,” Jiang Fan, vice-minister of the NPFPC said at a conference in Beijing recently. “And the rather alarming increase has forced us to kick off a high-level prevention plan.”

No details about the prevention plan were reported, except that it is being carried out in the eight most affected provinces. BBC reports:

The report said China’s coal-rich Shanxi province had the highest rate.

The commission blamed emissions from the region’s large chemical industry for the problems there.

Correspondents say the report suggests there is a human cost to China’s rapid economic development.

Researchers also blamed exposure to nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulates for the increase.

January 31, 2009 9:18 PM
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Categories: Environment, Sci-Tech