Public Forums Still Leave Birth Defect Questions Unanswered - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Public Forums Still Leave Birth Defect Questions Unanswered

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An alarming number of birth defects in our region that is four times the national average has sparked public concern. In response, the State Department of Health held two public forums in our region this week. An alarming number of birth defects in our region that is four times the national average has sparked public concern. In response, the State Department of Health held two public forums in our region this week.
KENNEWICK, WA - An alarming number of birth defects in our region that is four times the national average has sparked public concern.

In response, the State Department of Health held two public forums in our region this week. We had a news team at each of them. Many questions were asked and some of them answered, but many of those questions just do not have answers at this time.

The cause of the sometimes fatal neural tube defects is not yet known to doctors. For Benton City resident Brandon Coughlin, he found out he had Spina Bifida when he was 12, which is abnormal as the defect is usually found at birth or earlier. He explained at the meeting that the unknown factors are making the idea of bringing a child into the world scary.

"Knowing that I eventually want to have a family of my own, I probably have genetics that work into that, vitamins, dietary, environmental...a lot of things that could be involved there and it it kind of frustrating and scary," said Coughlin.

The Health Department took in contact information for many of the people who attended the meetings and heard possible ideas and theories from the public. They hope some of those could lead to discovering the common factors between mothers that are birthing these babies.
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