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Joplin Citizens and Health Organizations Call on Missouri Gov. Nixon for Study, Action on High Incidence of Birth Defects and Chronic Diseases in Community
Date:3/31/2009

JOPLIN, Mo., April 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Local and national public health organizations joined the Steelworkers Union today in calling on Governor Jay Nixon for a thorough investigation and action to alleviate the rising incidence in Joplin of birth defects and chronic diseases, which may be associated with industrial pollution.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080131/DC12982LOGO)

This call for government action accompanies release of a public health report by the organizations -- using the most current public health data available from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) -- on the high incidence of birth defects and chronic diseases, such as cancer, strokes, and diseases of the heart, respiratory system and immune system. The report was produced by the United Steelworkers, which represents 250 workers at the EaglePicher Technologies, LLC battery plant in Joplin, a military contractor, and hundreds of others in the area.

MDHSS data shows rapidly rising rates of birth defects in recent years for Joplin residents.

"Statewide, the incidence of birth defects rose from 571 per 10,000 births in 1999-2001 to 601.9 in 2003-2005. In Joplin, birth defects per 10,000 births rose from 557 in 1999-2001 to 793.1 in 2003-2005," said Betty Mekdeci, executive director, Birth Defect Research for Children.

"This means that for every 1,000 babies born in Joplin, 16 more babies suffer with birth defects than in the rest of the state, according to this government data," stated Tess Hill, president, Kids for Saving Earth.

In addition, the "Chronic Disease Profile for Joplin Residents" section of the report shows Joplin residents with a significantly hig
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
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