A cluster of birth defects in the Corpus Christi, Texas area has researchers and state officials struggling to find an answer. The increased incidence of birth defects has been verified in records going back to 1997. Now that the problem is being fully recognized, public health officials can begin to search for a solution.
Birth defects can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Genetic predisposition
- Environmental factors
- Maternal behavior, including use of alcohol and drugs while pregnant
Of these, environmental factors are the most likely culprit for an increased incidence of birth defects in a certain area. Mothers in a particular geographical zone are often exposed to similar chemicals and pathogens, many of which can have a causal effect on birth defects.
Chemical exposure is usually due to pollution in the area. Pollution is often caused by local manufacturers pumping toxic substances into local water supplies, or outputting dangerous chemicals into the air. At times, the first indication of widespread pollution is in negative health effects on the local population, which can include increased incidences of cancers and lung diseases but also birth defects.
Pathogen exposure is also geographically linked. The most famous recent cases were the spread of the Zika virus in South America leading to widespread microcephaly. Though the virus was mostly contained in the United States, there were outbreaks of Zika in areas of Florida and Texas.
If your child suffers from a birth defect, and you suspect environmental factors may have played a role, or if a medication you were prescribed might have been responsible, please consult with an experienced attorney. Determining the cause of your child’s birth defect can go a long way in determining the proper way to proceed with your case.