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Birth Defects on the Rise in Polluted China - Media

Published by MAC on 2007-09-14

Birth Defects on the Rise in Polluted China - Media

PlanetArk CHINA

14th September 2007

BEIJING - Growing numbers of Chinese children are being born with
deformities due to pollution, later pregnancies and unhealthy
lifestyles, state media said on Thursday quoting a medical expert.

About 1 million Chinese children were born each year with congenital
heart problems, cleft palettes, nerve defects, limb abnormalities
and other physical defects, director of China's National Centre for
Maternity and Infant Health, Li Zhu, told the China Daily.

The number of such congenital deformities was rising and the current
occurrence rate of 60 out of every 1,000 births was three times that
of developed countries, Li said.

Chinese parents, especially urban couples, were having children
later in life, making defects more likely, said the report, which
also blamed "exposure to hazardous pollutants and long-term
unhealthy lifestyles".

About a third of the babies born with such problems died shortly
after birth, the paper said, citing experts.

Birth defects affected a tenth of Chinese households and created an
annual financial strain of 1 billion yuan (US$133 million), the
Ministry of Health has estimated.

The Financial Times reported in July that China had asked the World
Bank not to publish estimates of the number of premature Chinese
deaths each year from polluted air and water.

The bank study said about 460,000 Chinese died prematurely each year
from water and air pollution and about 300,000 more died from indoor
toxins.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

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