Air Pollution in China Causing A Rise In Birth Defects

This article from ABC News is not exactly a revelation, however, I thought the increasing numbers of birth defects prevalent in infants born in China were sadly incredible. 

The article states that a Chinese Government report has cited a rise of 40% in the number of birth defects in China since 2001.  The sharp increase in number has been attributed to the dwindling condition of the country’s environment. 

Further, the amount of infants born with visible defects range from 2 to 3 million every year, and another 8 to 12 million would develop health defects in the following months or years after birth. 

One city that has had the highest increase in number of birth defects is Shanxi.  A director of a family planning clinic in the area has linked the increase to the area’s high pollution caused by the coal mining and chemical industry. With numbers so large, a possible 12 million children showing defects caused by pollution, one can only wonder what impact this will have on their health industry.  The strain on government and family resources to manage the defects must be huge, not to mention the strain on the child. 

As costly as environmental issues are to rectify, surely it is far more detrimental to the economy and to the health of people, to leave the issues for another day or generation to deal with.  In my last blog, Tehran has made some impressive changes and they have reaped some clean rewards, but it didn’t come without some resistance.  Hopefully China will bite the bullet and put in a serious action plan to clean up their environment – it will pay off handsomely in the end.

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Sofia Lockhart

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