EPA to investigate birth defect cluster in Kettleman City, CA

Legal news for California social responsibility attorneys. Birth defects is believed to be linked to a nearby toxic waste dump.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching an investigation whether a toxic waste dump is causing facial birth defects.

Hanford, CA—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) http://www.epa.com is expected to launch an investigation into a cluster of facial defects that arose near a toxic waste dump in Kettleman City, CA. The suspicions have many residents alarmed because the dump is going to be expanded to accommodate more waste, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The cluster of birth defects, at least five cleft palates or cleft lips were reported among 20 live births in a 14-month span that began in September 2007, amounted to 250 birth defects per 1,000 live births, which is way above the national average of 1 every 1,000 births, as reported by the National Institutes of Health. Residents of Kettleman City, which is located off Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles, believe the birth defects are coming from pesticides that were used in nearby farming fields and the toxic dump. The EPA is investigating whether those factors contributed to the birth defects.

Recently, The Kings County Board of Supervisors approved expanding the 1,600-acre waste site in the San Joaquin Valley, raising residents concerns even more. Residents have since filed a lawsuit against Kings County Board of Supervisors to challenge the expansion approval.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for California social responsibility lawyers.

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