China Study Links Birth Defects to PollutionFriday, January 9, 2009 8:42
For years, the warnings of a deteriorating environment on the health of the Chinese population have been there, and over the last 2 years it is clear that these warnings have grown in number and in urgency.
However, to date, there has been no official release that has directly linked the two.
A five-year study on the part of a group of doctors in Jiangsu has established that atmospheric pollution produces one tenth of congenital birth defects; 50% of the remaining cases can also be attributed to environmental problems. The group that studied the phenomenon was led by Dr. Hu Yali, of Nanjing University.
From 2001-2006, birth defects increased by 50% in China, affecting 1.2 million newborns. Dr. Hu’s group studied 26,000 women who gave birth from 2001-2005 in Jiangsu, which is one of the richest provinces in the country.
The most widespread defect involves heart disease, strictly connected to air pollution. This kind of defect is difficult to detect with prenatal testing.
And as luck would have it, the report studying the effects of smoking in China Mortality Attributable to Smoking in China was also released by The NEw England Journal of Medicine (h/t Off the Record):