Earlier in the month, Governor Schwarzenegger ordered an investigation into what is causing an over abundance of birth defects such as facial deformations and cleft palates in Kettleman City, California.
“This is a tremendous victory for the people of Kettleman City, whose pleas for help have fallen on deaf ears, including the state’s for the past 15 months, said Bradley Angel, executive director of the environmental justice group Greenaction. “We just wish he would have done this a year ago.”
Kettleman City is home to one of the most toxic waste plants in the state of California. But, it also sits off I-5, a major thoroughfare for the trucking industry.
Some say diesel emissions and pesticides on nearby farm fields could be contributing to the health problems.
The birth defects became a rallying point last year for residents trying to stop the expansion plans of the West’s largest hazardous waste facility by Chemical Waste Management Inc. Their stories of miscarriages and the photographs they carried of children with facial defects failed to convince the Kings County Board of Supervisors that the company’s expansion plans should not go forward.
The people at Waste Management, Inc. (owners of the plant)
are confident it will show their operation is not to blame for the facial defects in five of 20 children born there between September 2007 and November 2008.
They probably aren’t the sole cause for the defects, but they are definitely part of the problem.
The governor said both the California Department of Public Health and the state EPA will conduct the investigation and present initial findings at a meeting Feb. 9. The investigation will include interviews with residents, and reviews of soil samples and medical records.
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