Connect the birth defect dots

Photo of burning of drilling/fracking byproducts south of Silt – chemical cloud headed towards Glenwood Springs.

Photo of burning of drilling/fracking byproducts south of Silt – chemical cloud headed towards Glenwood Springs.

Let’s play a little game called “connect the dots.” I know. It’s the weekend. We all have stuff to do. I won’t keep you long.

This article is from today’s Post Independent:

Prenatal defects investigated in Garfield County

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A state epidemiologist has been called in to investigate a sudden rise in the number of fetal anomalies detected among pregnant women in the area recently, according to local and state health officials.

“We have indeed seen an increase in fetal anomalies in pregnant women in an area stretching from Carbondale to Rifle,” confirmed Stacey Gavrell, community relations director for Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.

“At this point, we can’t classify any specific kinds of birth defects,” she said, adding the information has been reported by prenatal care providers in Garfield County that work with VVH.

Gavrell also did not disclose specific numbers of cases reported and over what period of time, and how much that number may have increased.

“Their [providers] sentiment is that it’s too early to speculate on the threats of this, the causes and the specific kinds of abnormalities [birth defects] that could result,” she said.

It is enough of a concern, however, that the hospital turned the information over to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Gavrell said …

But that’s only HALF the story. Imagine that. The PI didn’t get the story straight. I mean, it’s getting harder and harder for me to take this paper seriously.

Anyway, here’s the other half of the story. A study conducted by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health was published at the end of January. The results of that study indicate a higher risk of birth defects in infants born to mothers who live close to natural gas wells. The study focused on “rural areas and towns with populations of less than 50,000” in 57 Colorado counties. You can be certain Garfield County was one of them.

Birth Outcomes and Maternal Residential Proximity to Natural Gas Development in Rural Colorado

This study suggests a positive association between greater density and proximity of natural gas wells within a 10-mile radius of maternal residence and greater prevalence of CHDs [congenital heart defects] and possibly NTDs [neural tube defects], but not oral clefts, preterm birth, or reduced fetal growth.

There are some distinctions here. Valley View Hospital is reporting a rise in “fetal anomalies” which occur during pregnancy. They have not disclosed whether they are also seeing a corresponding rise in birth defects. But lets not split hairs too much. There is a considerable overlap between prenatal defects and birth defects. VVH also has not yet disclosed the specific birth defects they are seeing. The Colorado study points to two specific birth defects, CHDs and NTDs. Until we know what specific defects are on the rise in Garfield County we can’t make a direct correlation. However it is certainly worth pointing out that a recent study showed a greater prevalence of birth defects among humans living near gas wells and now Valley View Hospital is reporting a sudden rise in prenatal defects.

The CDPHE aggressively criticized the study when it came out [see Daily Sentinel article] and are currently downplaying this latest report from Valley View. So there’s another connection. When confronted by more evidence of public health issues related to oil & gas drilling they behave like a captive agency of the oil & gas industry. Like we would trust their assessment of the situation anyway.

The CSU study does not include any human testing. If nothing else, this Valley View Hospital report shows how absolutely vital it is to include human testing in the CSU study. They are going to all this trouble and expense to determine what’s in the air around well pads. What difference will it make if they don’t also determine how the humans are affected?

Further reading —

The Daily Sentinel 3/8/14:  State studies fetal anomalies in Garfield Co. [FREE!]

The Daily Sentinel 1/31/14: Link suggested between birth defects, drilling [FREE!]

Eco-Watch 1/30/14: New Study Shows Proximity to Fracking Sites Increases Risk of Birth Defects

Post Independent 2/14/14: Seeking scientific truth on fracking

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11 Comments on “Connect the birth defect dots”

  1. Bob Arrington Says:

    It must be remembered that benzene is known to cause birth defects. 1 year ago Dec. into Jan. we had the Parachute Creek spill of 10,000 gal into the ground, BUT 40,000 gal were spilled into the air. For the benzene, 4 times more went into the air than the ground. Benzene then is “rained” back down all over. This may be another factor adding dots –

  2. Carl Mc Williams Says:

    I agree with Peggy; (especially after Pulitzer Prize nominated reporter John Colson was fired by PI Editor Drew Munro and Publisher Michael Bennett) that the Post Independent newspaper is not a legitimate news source. It is obvious the Post Independent newspaper has been bought and paid for by the Oil & Gas Fracking Industry.

    Munro and Bennett are the moral equivalent of Mike Samson, John Martin, Tom Jankovsky and Andrew Gorgey and all of these old Republican Party men “goose-step” to the beat of their fascists O&G industry masters.

  3. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Bob, the timing is right and would explain the sudden rise.

  4. Anita Sherman Says:

    Benzene in our air and water with our Gov. his appointed shills, Garfield commissioners, EAB, and PI (pretending to be a news source) playing: hear no industry evil, see no industry evil, speak no industry evil. All the while “staying the course” to slam through “pipeline eminent domain bills” like SB 93 in the General Assembly with local county governments removing 1041 regulations in their land use codes eliminating public review and impact assessments to expedite industry development. It’s a system of corporate corruption and collusion top of the ticket down with both sides playing bi-partisan for profit on the public’s dime! Where’s Community Counts Colorado and EAB – paid for with county funds – on this one? Anyone?……….Anyone?…………..Anyone?…..Nothing except the sound of crickets the industry shills and the lobbyists masquerading as our elected representatives.

  5. Beth Strudley Says:

    Oh! No wonder they’ve been writing so much shit! And, Heidi Rice has been drinking frac’ fluid…….. That’s why she can’t process words to paper anymore. How disgusting! Does ‘goose-stepping’ mean bending way, way, over and taking one while trying to walk? No wonder they all have crooked spines…….Wait! They’re spineless…..Must be crooked cartilage. I wonder if knowing that they’re responsible in one way or another for the birth defects in The National Sacrifice Zone makes it difficult for them to sleep at night? Nope, notta’ bit.

  6. Lee Says:

    Where are these studies done? What facts do you have that backs up these studies? Did your studies go to PA? WV? AK? What about the smog in the cities? Does that effect our babies?

  7. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Lee, you certainly have a lot of questions. Here’s a link:

  8. F. Phiillips Says:

    Maybe that’s why the Europeans are reluctant to access their natural shale fields. Apparently Europe has 80% of the capacity of the U.S. Better to be dependent on cheap Russian gas? How about investing in a safe method to extract natural gas?

  9. Andrea Holland Says:

    We need a truly INDEPENDENT newspaper like we had before the last one was bought out by the GWS Post.

  10. Leslie Robinson Says:

    If the Battlement Health Impact Assessment been finished and if the CDPHE was a government health department independent from the O&G industry, we would have a lot more answers about health impacts on those living in the Gas Lands.

  11. dan Says:

    The birth defects shown in Colorado Washington Oregon California have nothing to do with fracking and everything too do with Fukushima radiation they turned off the radiation monitoring sites after a large spike in radiation back in December. They can’t find a connection because they’re not looking at radiation. If you google the birth defects that are happening it comes up as radiation Exposure. The government is hiding the truth about the radiation exposure but of course they are the ones with the potassium iodide pills . Hillary Clinton in all the government roles that are hiding it should be held accountable . Because it is a form of genocide.

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