France Investigating Trend of Babies Born Without Limbs

The cause of the birth defects is currently up for debate.

Global population levels are growing while fertility rates fall.
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France has launched a nationwide investigation into a startling trend of babies being born with malformed or even completely missing limbs.

The cause is currently unknown, Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said, but nearly 20 cases have been discovered from 2000 to 2014. The birth defects appear to be somewhat contained geographically, popping up in three specific regions of the country, CNN reported.

“It could be an environmental issue,” Buzyn told rench TV station BFM TV. It could be what they ate or what they drank. It could be something that they’ve breathed in. I don’t know.”

Some believe the cause may be rooted in chemicals no longer used in certain pesticides.

“These cases occurred at a given time and then they stopped occurring,” Rhône-Alpes Malformations Register (REMERA) director, Emmanuelle Amar, told the news site. “Either that the product used is no longer being used, or that the person or entity that was spreading it has now stopped spreading it.”

Teams associated with various French health agencies — both private and public — will soon begin investigations to see what, if anything, the families may have in common.

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