Parents in Kettleman City, California are looking for answers.  In the small farming community, just outside Fresno, five babies have been born with with cleft palates or other grave disabilities over the past 15 months.  Three of these babies have died from their conditions.  And parents think that something in the environment is to blame.

Many parents worry that poisons in the air, water and land are to blame. Their town of 1,500 is wedged in among agricultural fields, two highways and a hazardous-waste landfill.  Environmental-justice groups working in the area don't believe the recent cases are a matter of coincidence.  They are calling it a "birth-defect cluster" -- a surge in birth defects unlikely to occur by chance and they want an investigation.

But experts say parents may never know the root cause of these birth defects. Apparent spikes in birth defects or cancer cases are difficult to verify and even more difficult to determine cause.  

In the meantime, a hearing is underway to halt the expansion of a nearby landfill that may or may not be linked to these birth defects.  Parents and environmental activists say the plans should be stopped until the birth defects have been investigated. 

Photo: interplast

via Fresno Bee

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.