Birth defects soar in polluted China
Mon Oct 29, 10:59 PM ET
BEIJING (AFP) - Birth defects in heavily pollutedhave increased by nearly 40 percent since 2001, with a deformed baby born every 30 seconds, state media reported on Tuesday.
The rate of defects appeared to increase near the country's countless coal mines, which produce the bulk of China's energy but are also responsible for serious air and water pollution, the China Daily newspaper said, quoting government officials.
Birth defects nationwide have increased from 104.9 per 10,000 births in 2001 to 145.5 last year, it said, citing a report by the National Population and Family Planning Commission.
They affect about one million of the 20 million babies born every year, with about 300,000 babies suffering from "visible deformities."
"A baby with birth defects is born every 30 seconds in China and the situation has worsened year by year," said Jiang Fan, deputy head of the commission and author of the report.
About 30-40 percent of the deformed children born each year die shortly after birth.
There is a correlation between birth defects and proximity to environmentally degraded areas, said An Huanxiao, head of family planning in the heavily polluted northern province of, source of much of the nation's coal.
Shanxi tops the nation in birth defects, Xinhua said.
A correlation can also be drawn with parents' poverty and low education, An was quoted as saying.
China suffers from serious pollution, the price of its stunning economic rise, with air quality in major cities regularly exceeding danger levels and millions of people lacking access to clean water.
Reese is from the heavily-polluted Shanxi province. My theory has always been that Reese was left at the gates of the orphanage because of her special need. Now here's my question: if Shanxi is so polluted, and so many children are born with birth-defects, wouldn't one assume many of those affected children are being abandoned as well? So if that is in fact the case, why hasn't the CCAA raised the amount of dossiers the orphanages in Shanxi can send to them, for special needs children at least, to be placed with foreign families? We all know there is now becoming something of a rush for special needs kids because of the long wait.
And here's the reason why I ask why the don't let them send more: when we were in Shanxi, our guide told us, on average, Shanxi does about foreign adoption a month. However, that number has recently gone up, so the CCAA must have increased the amount of SN dossiers they can send to them to be placed. But my guess would be they haven't raised it nearly enough. I'd say, from what I saw and hear online, Shanxi may be doing, tops, 3-5 adoptions a month now, if that. 5 is probably being hopeful. If so many children are born with SN, and with Shanxi being as poor of a province as it is (mostly coal miners and farmers), I'd bet a lot of the children born with SN are being abandoned because the families have no way of caring for them, and even if the child was their 1 legal child (Shanxi is predominantly Han with just a small percentage on Mongol and Hui mixed in), a lot of good the health insurance the child is given for their parents staying inside the law would do when they can't afford the $100 flight from Taiyuan to Beijing to have whatever is wrong fixed. Or they can't afford to make that flight over and over, as it is a SN that needs repeated treatment (such as Reese's).
Basically, what I'm trying to say is, I hardly believe there is a shortage of children in China waiting to be adopted as the CCAA says. There may be a shortage of paper ready children, but I really doubt there's a shortage of children in general. If I remember correctly, there is some where like 500 orphanages in Hunan, feel free to correct me if you know for sure, because I'm just guessing off of a figment of a memory here, and less than 100 participate in foreign adoption. What about those other children in orphanages not participating in IA? They're children that want a family as much as the others. So there may be a shortage of paper ready children, there may be a shortage of children in IA orphanages, but I doubt there is a shortage of children in general. I don't know for a fact, but I'm pretty sure there's more than 3 orphanages in all of Shanxi. I only know of 4 involved in IA though: TaiYuan, DaTong, YangQuan and LuLiang.
Anyway, I'm going to stop my rant now. I do my best to keep this as a blog devoted to Reese in the here-and-now (for the most part) but every now and then, there's an article that just pulls up a rant. And if I post it on my personal blog, Life Through The Lens, my rant will only be there for me to enjoy and contemplate.