25 newborns missing at least one hand, one forearm or whole arms. Born in 15 years in Ain, Loire-Atlantique and Morbihan, three of the 101 departments France, This sounds like a few and random individual fates and actually coincides with the normal malformation rate. And yet the French health authority speaks Santé publique France (SPF) now from "statistically
conspicuous "clusters.

The reason: All mothers of affected newborns lived close to each other, in small villages in the countryside. Therefore, now, years after the
first signs, looking for reasons: what could have damaged babies in the womb? Were
it might pesticides from the fields, toxic residues from the fields
Food or invisible pollutants from the air?

France's Health Minister Agnès Buzyn has now fueled the suspicion that an environmental toxin may be the cause, with public statements: the high number of children with
Missing arms or hands could possibly be using funds in the
Agriculture are related. In search of the cause one does not want to exclude a direction. Maybe the trail is to be found in the environment. "Maybe it's something that
the pregnant women have eaten, drunk or breathed in, "said the Minister.This is not known at the moment.

No one knows exactly where malformations occur and how often

Only recently it became known that only within a radius of 17 kilometers around the western French village
Druillat in the department of Ain in the years 2000 to 2014 18 children had been born who lacked at least one hand or one arm. Another suspected case from Ain, the newspaper Le Monde has made public, according to authorities still checked. There are also four cases
the small Bretagne region Morbihan (where the children were born in the years 2011 to 2013) and three from the neighboring region Loire-Atlantique, born in 2007 and 2008.

In the attempt to classify the currently known cases statistically serious, in France reveals a problem that exists in Germany as well: It lacks a nationwide reliable and rapid detection of all newborns with malformations. However, only with such a national register could critical developments in certain regions be detected more quickly. In addition, possible environmental pollutants that can damage fetuses in the womb are apparently under-researched.

For the current case, this means that for a full ten years, the French authorities did not notice the local accumulation of affected children – until a gynecologist after two births of infants who lacked arms, the Registre des Malformations en Rhône-Alpes, short Remera, alerted. The staff of this publicly-funded child malformation registry for the Département Ain alone wrote a report in 2015 for the Paris-based National Health Authority (SPF) on seven registered malformations. It said, "The most likely hypothesis is that the pregnant women were exposed to a substance in agriculture or veterinary medicine.

A factor that has not been investigated yet. According to the affected parents, after birth, authorities looked at mothers' behavior, such as which face creams they used during pregnancy, which cleansers they used, and what they ate. Possible pollutants from the environment have been paid too little attention. "We demand a deeper investigation," said Isabelle Taymans-Grassin on French radio. She is the mother of a girl who was born without a left forearm.

Her daughter is now seven years old. To date, the French state has paid no attention to its malformation. Just like you, there were several families in France. But the parents began to network. Over the years, fathers and mothers got to know each other in their respective communities – only a few thousand people live in the affected villages. And they found out: Many pregnant women still live or live in fields where rape or sunflowers were cultivated. When the government finally sent letters of termination to the employees of Remera and the local register was closed this fall for reasons of economy, the parents defended themselves publicly, turning to newspapers, the radio and television. Only then were their children recounted and registered. Suddenly, the health authority SPF found eleven more children with malformations in the Ain region. And finally, the Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn became active. "It's unacceptable for the parents and our country not to know why babies are born without arms and legs," her new slogan was.



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