Corpus Christi – A Toxic Town?

Babies born with birth defects are on the rise in the Texan city of Corpus Christi. After analyzing six years of data from the state birth defects registry, the Texas Department of Health found that the babies born in Corpus Christi were 17% more likely to have a severe birth defect, and almost two times as likely to be diagnosed with any type of birth defect.1

Residents are concerned that the environmental hazards from the refineries, chemical plants and dumps are to blame, and have requested a second study to determine if there is a link.

The next wave of the study will determine where the mothers live in relation to the potentially hazardous sites.

Refinery row is of most concern. A fifteen mile stretch of industrial development is one of the thickest concentrations of refineries in the nation. For one woman, all three of her children were born with birth defects. Jeannine Foster worries about the damage from their source of livelihood, three generations of the Foster family have worked the petrochemical refineries.2 It’s a conundrum. The residents of Corpus Christi are understandably afraid to leave the only home they have ever known – but are equally scared of the pollution that is clearly thick in the air around them. The industrial plants give off offensive odors, blinding lights, and warning whistles that can rattle the dishes in their cupboards. Foster states: “When the whistle blows, you look to see which direction the sock is blowing, and run in the opposite direction.”3

Now, it seems, all they can do is wait. Wait for the second study to be completed and released – hopeful that a solution lies in the data.

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