France has launched an investigation over a spike in the number of babies born without arms or limbs. Earlier, the national health agency had investigated cases of seven infants born with abnormalities in the Ain area near the Swiss border. However, after the claims were dismissed, 11 new cases of babies born with missing or deformed arms were identified between 2000 and 2014
Other than Ain, similar cases have also been registered in Brittany on the West coast and Loire-Atlantique, south of Brittany. On Wednesday Francois Bourdillon, head of the Public Health France agency, told RTL radio that the probe was "underway" and the results would be known "in about three months." He said, "We are going to look into all the suspect cases."
Last week, France's Health Minister Agnes Buzyn had announced that a fresh investigation would be launched into the cases of birth defects. While the cause of the defects is not known, research shows that the mother's exposure to certain chemicals or medication during pregnancy could have increased the risk. Shocking! 12 Dead Babies Found in Hidden Boxes, Plastic Bags in Kenya.
As the investigation continues, Buzyn told French news channel LCI that health experts would be soon joined by environmental experts in investigating the cases. Earlier in the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of babies were born around the world with missing limbs. It was then linked to the use of the drug thalidomide, which was used to treat nausea in pregnant women. Following which it was banned in the 1960s.
Emmanuelle Amar, the director of Remera told The Guardian, "These malformations are very rare, but also very specific. There is something, some product, that is cutting the limbs at the time the embryo is developing. We must search for it."