Birth Defect Investigation
5:54 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Health Officials Plan Next Steps In Birth Defect Investigation

Investigators still aren’t sure what is causing a cluster of birth defects in central Washington. The rate of the rare defect is four times the national average. Health officials met today to figure out what to do next.

Investigators still aren’t sure what is causing a cluster of birth defects in central Washington.
Investigators still aren’t sure what is causing a cluster of birth defects in central Washington.
Credit Bridget Coila / Flickr

A public service announcement is one way health officials are trying to teach women about folic acid.

“Take it because if you happen to get pregnant, it will help prevent certain birth defects,” the PSA said.

One of these birth defects is anencephaly. Anencephaly results in the unformed skulls of babies.

Pesticide exposure or nitrates in well water were suspected causes of the birth defect. Epidemiologists have recently ruled that out.

Now officials will re-interview women who had affected pregnancies in the last two years.

They’ll use a questionnaire from a national study on birth defects. Those questions will help compare data collected in Washington to other states.

Officials hope this data will help narrow down the causes of anencephaly. They’ll release the data in July of 2015.

Copyright 2014 Northwest Public Radio