Dead Babies and Utah’s Carbon Bomb

A drilling rig operated by Nabers Co. drilling on land leased by the Bill Barrett Corporation from the federal government near Vernal, Utah, March 21, 2012. (Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times)

A drilling rig operated by Nabers Co. drilling on land leased by the Bill Barrett Corporation from the federal government near Vernal, Utah, March 21, 2012. (Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times)

A sudden and extreme spike in neonatal mortality in Utah’s rural Uinta Basin is most probably related to the toxic air pollution related to the fossil fuel drilling/fracking frenzy in Eastern Utah. And the local poobahs want to kill the messenger.

Donna Young is a midwife in Vernal, Utah, with 20 years experience managing home births in Idaho and Utah. She lives in the Uinta Basin, the heart of the fossil fuel drilling/fracking frenzy in Eastern Utah. On May 8, 2013, she had her first stillbirth. At the funeral service a few days later, she noted what seemed like an extraordinary number of infant graves with recent dates at the cemetery. She decided to investigate.

She didn’t get any help from local authorities, but eventually information gleaned from obituaries and mortuaries revealed 12 cases of neonatal mortality (most of them stillborn, or death shortly after birth), in 2013. Looking back to 2010 revealed a modest upward trend, but then a huge spike in 2013. This is sparsely populated rural Utah. Vernal is a town of fewer than 10,000 people. But per capita, this is a neonatal mortality six times the national average. It is actually worse than it appears. National infant mortality rates have been dropping slowly and steadily for almost 50 years, including about a 10 to 15 percent drop in the last decade. Furthermore, most of Utah is about 50 percent Mormon, so the rate of drinking and smoking is less than the national average throughout the state. The minority population in rural Utah, like Vernal, is very low, and the percentage of Mormons is even higher, both of which should lower the infant mortality rates, all other things being equal

What is going on in Utah’s Uinta Basin to explain newborn babies dying? An abrupt surge in teenage mothers, drug, alcohol use? No evidence of that. Is there a genetic explanation? Genes don’t change that quickly. Is there a sudden onset of medical incompetence by the area’s health-care providers? No reason to think so. That leaves one other possibility. Is there something happening in the environment? As a matter of fact, yes.

Read on and Souce …. http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/23885-dead-babies-and-utahs-carbon-bomb

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