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Birth defects in China could rise by 66 pct

Posted by feww on June 5, 2011

China’s pollution-related birth defects could reach 242 per 10,000 this year

The the number of birth defects in China is increasing at an alarming rate.

According to a report published in 2009:

  • The coal-mining Shanxi province had the largest number of birth defects.
  • A 2007 commission report covering the five-year period from 2001 to 2006 recorded a 40% rise in the rate of defects from about 105 per 10,000 births to 146.
  •  Defective births accounted for up to 6 percent of total every year,  China’s family planning agency said. About 30 percent of the victims die and 40 percent are disabled.
  • A child is born with physical defects every 30 seconds because of the environmental pollution.
  • “Birth defects are now the single biggest killer of infants on the mainland,” Professor Hu Yali of Nanjing University told the Nanjing Morning Post.
  • At least 1.2 million babies are born in China with “visible defects” each year.

Researchers said emissions from Shanxi’s massive coal and chemical industry, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulates, was responsible for the defects.

“The problem of birth defects is related to environmental pollution, especially in eight main coal zones,” said An Huanxiao, the director of Shanxi family planning office.

Ming Yuan 2/04  –  Ming Yuan is a boy who was born with hydrocephalus or more commonly, “water on the brain”.  This is a serious birth defect and can cause mental retardation if left unchecked.  Ming Yuan had received a shunt before we got him so the excess fluid is going into a body cavity, relieving pressure on his brain.  He is a fussy little guy who demands lots of attention from his caregivers as well as visitors.  I think he has become aware of the “squeaky wheel” syndrome and is becoming a master at it! Image and caption courtesy of China Dream Home

Meanwhile the energy demand in China has risen almost exponentially. The electricity demand is set to rise by about 40 gigawatts over the capacity this summer, officials said.

More than 70 percent of China’s electricity is generated in coal-burning plants, and the official announcement has prompted China’s Railway Ministry to deploy more trains to transport coal around the country.

Based on the available data on China’s ever increasing demand for electricity, and projection of previous national birth figures, FIRE-EARTH estimates that the number of birth defects over the 2006-2011 period could climb to 242 per 10,000 births, a 66 percent rise compared with the previous period.

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