BIRTH defects in Chinese infants have soared nearly 40 per cent since 2001, a government report said, and officials linked the rise to China‘s worsening environmental degradation.
The rate of defects had risen from 104.9 per 10,000 births in 2001, to 145.5 in 2006, affecting nearly one in 10 families, China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission said in a report on its website.
Infants with birth defects now accounted for "about 4 to 6 per cent of total births every year", the family planning agency said. Of these, 30 per cent would die and 40 per cent would be "disabled".
The World Health Organisation estimates about 3 to 5 per cent of children worldwide are born with birth defects.
China‘s coal-rich northern province of Shanxi, a centre of noxious emissions from large-scale coke and chemical industries, had the highest rate of defects,