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Firehosing: the systemic strategy that anti-vaxxers are using to spread misinformation | Lucky Tran

Anti-vaxxers keep informing the very same apparent lies without pity, regardless of being exposed and factchecked

Y et once again a popular program is providing an anti-vaxxer a prominent platform to trigger and spread out lies damage to an audience of millions. This time it’s Bill Maher who recently hosted Jay Gordon , a questionable medical professional who markets false information about vaccines and is best understood for offering numerous individual belief exemptions for households to pass up school vaccine requirements.

The 14-minute interview on Real Time with Bill Maher doubled down on all the harmful views we’ve heard prior to: highlighting discredited deal with vaccines and autism, disingenuously identifying measles a benign health problem, and questioning a vaccine schedule that has actually been shown reliable and safe by years of research study.

Like numerous who operate in science and medication, I am exasperated. How does this keep taking place? Why do individuals keep providing snake-oil salespersons a microphone? And how can anti-vaxxers keep informing us the very same apparent lies without embarassment, when they have been unmasked and factchecked time and time once again?

The response to all my concerns is just that lying works. It’s an intentional method. When anti-vaxxers remain in the spotlight, we tend to concentrate on factchecking them, which is a natural response. We need to be paying more attention to the systemic techniques they utilize to spread their false information.

Ever become aware of “firehosing”? It’s a reasonably brand-new term created by Rand scientists Christopher Paul and Miriam Matthews in 2016 to explain the propaganda methods Russian authorities utilize to stop dissent and manage the political landscape. The term has actually given that been used to the authoritarian habits of leaders in the United States, Brazil and the Philippines.

What does this relate to anti-science talkshows? Far, the principle of firehosing has actually just been used to political propaganda. I believe there are numerous lessons here for those tracking locations of science rejection such as vaccines and environment crisis.

Firehosing counts on pressing out as numerous lies as possible as often as possible. That’s normal for propaganda, however the element that makes firehosing a distinct method is that it does not need the propagandist to make the lies credible. That appears counterproductive, however as Carlos Maza of Vox describes , firehosing works since its objective isn’t to convince. It’s to rob realities of their power. Firehosing swamps us with many wild viewpoints that it ends up being stressful to continuously negate them. In this situation, truth is decreased to placing and who can offer their position best.

The method works for those attempting to hang on to political power, and it’s the exact same for those who acquire power from taking part in science rejection. Anti-vax influencers such as Jay Gordon and Andrew Wakefield can keep duplicating disproved claims– and when it comes to Wakefield, doing so regardless of having had his medical license withdrawed– since their lying successfully debases truth and gets them fans and popularity at the same time. It’s the exact same for media characters such as Bill Maher, who grow an audience and develop an effective brand name by using up outsider positions, despite whether those positions break all unbiased proof.

It is necessary to acknowledge that not everybody who takes anti-vaccination positions is taking part in firehosing. Lots of worried moms and dads are victims of this disinformation technique. Much of our anger online is frequently directed at targeted neighborhoods; we must rather cast our rage at those who acquire and benefit power from spreading out lies about vaccines.

How do we fight firehosing? There is no silver bullet, and we are still discovering this brand-new phenomenon, however the scientists at Rand do make numerous tips . They stress that factchecking alone is inefficient: “Don’t anticipate to counter the firehose of fraud with the squirt weapon of fact.” Rather, it is much better to forewarn audiences about the approaches that propagandists utilize to control popular opinion.

Another counter-strategy is to interfere with the circulation of disinformation. Public pressure previously this year triggered tech business like Facebook and YouTube to eliminate incorrect anti-vaccine material from their platforms. For more conventional platforms like tv, audiences can likewise press networks to withdraw their assistance and talkshow visitors to withdraw their involvement. The media neighborhood might likewise develop more powerful responsibility and self-regulation systems, a practice that has actually shown efficient in Finland .

It may be appealing to cross out characters like Maher as eccentric and out of touch, and to leave them alone for worry of feeding the fire. I get that. some research studies program that duplicating a lie, even to refute it, can assist instill an incorrect claim rather than resolve it. We can not pay for to be in rejection about the power of science rejection. We require to expose the methods they utilize for their own self-centered advantage when anti-vaxxers are in the spotlight.

When propagandists are left alone to spread their outrageous lies, they acquire wealth, power and popularity– at the expense of public health, the environment and human rights. We require to take that power away, and the very best method to do that is by obstructing the firehose.

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Air pollution particles found on foetal side of placentas study

Research discovers black carbon breathed by moms can cross into coming kids

Air contamination particles have actually been discovered on the foetal side of placentas, suggesting that coming children are straight exposed to the black carbon produced by motor traffic and fuel burning.

The research study is the very first research study to reveal the placental barrier can be permeated by particles taken in by the mom. It discovered countless the small particles per cubic millimetre of tissue in every placenta evaluated.

The link in between direct exposure to filthy air and increased miscarriages , early births and low birth weights is well developed. The research study recommends the particles themselves might be the cause, not exclusively the inflammatory reaction the contamination produces in moms.

Damage to fetus has long-lasting repercussions and Prof Tim Nawrot at Hasselt University in Belgium, who led the research study, stated: “This is the most susceptible duration of life. All the organ systems remain in advancement. For the security of future generations, we need to lower direct exposure.” When possible, he stated federal governments had the obligation of cutting air contamination however that individuals need to prevent hectic roadways.

A detailed international evaluation concluded that air contamination might be destructive every organ and practically every cell in the body. Nanoparticles have actually likewise been discovered to cross the blood-brain barrier and billions have actually been discovered in the hearts of young city occupants .

While air contamination is minimizing in some countries, the proof of damage brought on by even low levels is quickly increasing and 90% of the world’s population reside in locations where air contamination is above World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

The research study, released in the journal Nature Communications , analyzed 25 placentas from non-smoking ladies in the town of Hasselt. It has particle contamination levels well listed below the EU limitation, although above the WHO restrict. Scientists utilized a laser strategy to identify the black carbon particles, which have a distinct light finger print.

In each case, they discovered nanoparticles on the foetal side of the number and the placenta associated with air contamination levels experienced by the moms. There was approximately 20,000 nanoparticles per cubic millimetre in the placentas of moms who lived near primary roadways. For those more away, the average was 10,000 per cubic millimetre.

They likewise took a look at placentas from miscarriages and discovered the particles existed even in 12-week-old fetus. The very first report of possible contamination particles in placentas existed at a conference in September 2018, though the structure of the particles had actually not been validated.

The detection of the particles on the foetal side of the placental barrier suggests it was likely the fetus were exposed, Nawrot stated. Work to evaluate foetal blood for particles is now under method, as is research study to see if the particles trigger DNA damage.

The group likewise discovered black carbon particles in the urine of main school kids . The research study, released in 2017, discovered approximately 10 million particles per millilitre in numerous nine-to-12-year-olds checked. “It reveals there is translocation of particles from the lungs to all organ systems,” stated Nawrot.

“It is truly challenging to provide individuals useful guidance, due to the fact that everybody needs to breathe,” he stated. “But what individuals can do is prevent hectic roadways as much as possible. There can be extremely high levels beside hectic roadways, however simply a couple of metres away can be lower.”

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Air contamination has actually been referred to as the ‘brand-new tobacco’ by the head of the World Health Organization. Over 90 % of the world’s population suffers poisonous air and research study is progressively exposing the extensive effect on the health of individuals, specifically kids.

Babies and kids’ establishing bodies are most at threat from harmful air, with 300 million living in locations where harmful fumes are 6 times above the worldwide standards.

A thorough international evaluation discovered that air contamination might be destructive every organ and practically every cell in the body . It triggers problems from heart and lung illness to diabetes and dementia, and from liver issues and bladder cancer to breakable bones and harmed skin. The systemic damage is the outcome of toxins triggering swelling that then floods through the body, and from ultrafine particles being brought around the body by the blood stream.

In the UK, while deaths credited to air contamination have actually cut in half in the last 4 years, many metropolitan locations have unlawful levels of air contamination. One in 20 deaths in the UK is still attributable to little particle contamination alone

Damian Carrington, Environment editor

Thank you for your feedback.

Prof Jonathan Grigg, whose group provided the very first report of particles in 5 placentas in September, invited the research study and stated the group’s work had actually given that been broadened and would be released quickly.

“We see proof of particles in all females– it is not like it is a one-off,” stated Grigg at Queen Mary University of London in the UK. “It suggests that every day we have these extremely little particles moving our bodies.”

“We need to be safeguarding fetus and this is another suggestion that we require to get [air contamination] levels down,” he stated. “But individuals should not be absolutely frightened.” He stated the overall weight of the small particles was little and more research study was required to identify their effect, however he recommended individuals to utilize lower contamination transportation optionsor public transportation, instead of cars and trucks.

Grigg stated: “This brand-new field of research study definitely focuses our attention on the direct function of particles getting to the tissues, instead of particles entering into the lungs and launching other [inflammatory] compounds.”

Air contamination research study now reveals complete scale physical damage, from heart and lung illness to diabetes and decreased intelligence to breakable bones and harmed skin. The WHO calls air contamination a “ public health emergency situation ” and current analysis shows 8.8 million sudden deaths each year, though researchers presume even this might be “ the suggestion of the iceberg “.

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Record heatwave ‘made much more likely’ by human impact on climate

Scientists state July a minimum of equated to and might have beaten most popular month on record

The record-breaking heatwave that roasted Europe last month was a one-in-a-thousand-year occasion made up to 100 times most likely by human-driven environment modification, researchers have actually computed.

Around the world, July a minimum of equated to and might have gone beyond the most popular month on record, according to information from the World Meteorological Organization. This followed the hottest June on record.

Temperature records were broken in numerous nations, wildfires continue to ravage large locations of Siberia , the Greenland ice sheet is melting at a near record rate, and the danger of dry spell has actually grown more intense throughout large locations of eastern and main Europe.

The severe heat is especially uncommon since it is not an El Nio year– the phenomenon generally related to extended temperature level rises. Rather, researchers state it is driven to a big degree by carbon emissions from vehicle exhausts, power plant chimneys, burning forests and other human sources.

How much these aspects filled the dice in the 2- to three-day heatwave throughout the recently of July was the topic of an attribution research study by a consortium of meteorologists and climatologists at the UK Met Office, Oxford University and other popular European organizations.

It discovered that the severe heat in France and the Netherlands, where temperature levels peaked above 40C, was made a minimum of 10 times and potentially more than 100 times most likely by environment modification. In the UK, which set a record of 38.7 C on 25 July, the human effect on the environment made the heats a minimum of 2 to 3 times more possible.

There was substantial variation from location to location, however in all the studied areas the researchers stated it would have been 1.5 C to 3C cooler without environment modification.

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A Nasa satellite image reveals winds bring plumes of smoke over Russia, centre right, as wildfires raved in Siberia. Photo: Joshua Stevens/Nasa/AP

Although the current heat has actually been referred to as historical, it is not likely to stay that method for long, according to the authors of the research study. “It will not make history. These records will be broken in couple of years,” stated Friederike Otto, of the University of Oxford. “What we see with European heatwaves is that all the environment designs are ignoring the modification that we see.” She stated additional research study would examine how most likely it was to have 2 extreme heatwaves in the area of 2 months.

The paper states the severe heat will have an effect on human wellness, though the information on this typically lags, which can indicate it stops working to draw much spotlight.

“Heatwaves throughout the height of summer season present a significant threat to human health and are possibly deadly,” the paper states. “The complete effect is understood just after a couple of weeks when the death figures have actually been evaluated. Efficient heat emergency situation strategies, together with precise weather report such as those provided prior to this heatwave, decrease effects and are ending up being a lot more essential due to the increasing threats.”

The UN secretary general, Antnio Guterres, who has actually called an unique environment top of world leaders in September, stated the seasons were moving amazingly far from their typical course. “We have actually constantly endured hot summertimes, however this is not the summer season of our youth. This is not your grandpa’s summertime,” he stated. “Preventing permanent environment disturbance is the race of our lives, and for our lives. It is a race that we can and need to win.”

The World Meteorological Organization anticipates 2015-19 to be the hottest five-year duration ever taped. “July has actually reworded environment history, with lots of brand-new temperature level records at regional, international and nationwide level,” stated the organisation’s secretary general, Petteri Taalas. “Unprecedented wildfires raved in the Arctic for the 2nd successive month, ravaging as soon as beautiful forests which utilized to take in co2 and rather turning them into intense sources of greenhouse gases. This is not sci-fi. It is the truth of environment modification. It is taking place now and it will intensify in the future without immediate environment action.”

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Alzheimers blood test could predict onset up to 20 years in advance

United States scientists state blood test can be 94% reliable in finding those at threat of the illness

A blood test that can discover indications of Alzheimer’s as much as 20 years prior to the illness starts to have a devastating result has actually been established by scientists in the United States.

Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis in Missouri think the test can recognize modifications in the brain suggestive of Alzheimer’s with 94% precision, while being more affordable and easier than a PET brain scan.

The outcomes of the research study, which was released in the journal Neurology on Thursday, represent a prospective advancement in the battle versus the illness.

“Right now we evaluate individuals for medical trials with brain scans, which is pricey and lengthy, and registering individuals takes years,” stated the senior author, Randall Bateman, a leading teacher of neurology.

“But with a blood test, we might possibly evaluate countless individuals a month. That indicates we can more effectively register individuals in scientific trials, which will assist us discover treatments quicker, and might have a huge effect on the expense of the illness in addition to the human suffering that opts for it.”

The scientists stated they had actually discovered a method to determine levels of the protein amyloid beta, an essential sign of Alzheimer’s, in the blood. They can then utilize such levels to forecast whether the protein has actually collected in the brain.

That analysis might then be integrated with 2 other significant Alzheimer’s threat elements– age and the existence of the hereditary alternative APOE4– to precisely recognize the pertinent modifications in the brain.

The scientists stated the clumps of protein start to form in the brain approximately twenty years prior to the start of the particular amnesia, recommending the tests might be utilized to anticipate Alzheimer’s years ahead of time.

However, the advantages of such screening would not be seen to their max degree up until treatments to stop the illness are established.

In January 2018 , a group of researchers exposed their deal with a test that utilized mass spectrometry strategies to recognize clients with a rogue peptide in their blood plasma, suggesting an accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain.

The newest research study took a look at 158 individuals aged older than 50. All however 10 of the individuals in the brand-new research study were cognitively regular and each offered a minimum of one blood sample and went through one PET brain scan.

The scientists discovered that the blood tests provided the exact same outcomes as the PET scans 88% of the time, which was not satisfying. In order to enhance the precision, the researchers started including the other threat aspects, increasing the precision to more than 90%.

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Ive frozen my eggs, but women shouldnt have to solve the baby bust alone | Dearbhail McDonald

We are having less kids and living longer than ever prior to we require to discuss the fertility crisis, composes Dearbhail McDonald

I t’s a long roadway from having fun with child dolls as a kid, battling with your twin sibling over the name of your future initially born, to being sedated and wheeled into an operating theatre for your eggs to be recovered and frozen. That’s where I discovered myself a couple of years earlier. A female in her mid-30s, extremely informed with a gratifying and effective media profession, injecting herself daily with a bespoke mixed drink of hormonal agents, and parting with countless pounds in a heart-wrenching quote to protect her opportunities of motherhood.

Nothing rather prepares you for the psychological rollercoaster of fertility treatment. There’s the sorrow for the kids you may never ever have; the raking over every individual relationship and profession development, the “what ifs” pounding you like hailstones in a freak storm.

And that’s prior to you subject yourself to expensive, intrusive medical treatments (you lose count of the number of times a cam is placed into your cervix) for chances with still strikingly low returns. It is a gamble I wanted to take and”Operation Frozen”– as my good friends called the pursuit– was among the very best choices I have actually ever made. Freezing my eggs does not ensure my future motherhood. Nature does not either. Science has actually provided me the possibility of ending up being a mum, ideally with Mr Right, however possibly on my own, a course a growing number of my good friends have actually courageously started.

During my treatment at a London fertility center, I looked for day-to-day sanctuary in the splendour of St Paul’s Cathedral. And in those extremely personal, and sometimes lonesome, tearful minutes, what I didn’t value was that my issue is one dealing with countless males and females all over the world. It cuts to the heart of among the greatest financial and social obstacles of our times: we are leaving it far too late to develop infants naturally or are having less kids than ever previously.

Nearly half of the world’s nations are dealing with an infant bust, implying there are inadequate kids to keep their population size. Global fertility rates have actually nearly cut in half given that the 1950s , from 4.7 kids per lady in 1950, to 2.4 kids– the replacement rate is 2.1– by 2017. In 2015 the variety of kids born in Britain, which has a fertility rate of 1.7– and which will now present fertility education into its curriculum for secondary school trainees– struck a 10-year low. Ireland (1.8 ), the nation of my birth, when topped Europe’s fertility league– sustained in no little part by the coercive control over personal life and public law wielded by the Catholic church– however likewise tape-recorded the most affordable variety of births per 1,000 because records started.

The decrease in international fertility rates is an amazing success story for mankind. Female education and empowerment is the essential motorist of lowered fertility rates mitigating overpopulation, while lowering kid death and kid hardship. We can not get away the truth that, while we’re having less kids, we’re living longer. And this tectonic merging is having significant repercussions for people, households, our future labor forces– even what it suggests to be a country state. The phenomenon of “bad demographics”, of not producing steady, growing populations, likewise positions difficulties for financial development and stability, with greater rate of interest and slower development rates anticipated for the majority of industrialized nations.

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Governments are now browsing decreasing working-age populations and steeling their citizens for the fallout of quickly diminishing dependence ratios– the variety of kids under the age of 15 and those aged 65 and over, supported by employees in their prime years. We see the issue played out in cautions about the capability to sustain pensions and health and other social programs. And we see it in policy actions such as cutting state pension advantages, raising the state pension age or increasing migration– fertility’s biggest wild card and among the greatest humanitarian crises of our time.

Many federal governments would need to increase net migration by substantial numbers to alleviate the impacts of the upcoming waves of retirement. As we understand just too well from assistance for Donald Trump to Brexit and beyond, taking on decreasing working-age populations with ever more open migration policies is not a basic option. Simply want to Hungary, where last month its anti-immigration premier, Viktor Orbn, revealed a life time tax exemption for females who have 4 kids or more.

It’s not simply Europe that is aging. The fertility rate is listed below replacement level in a lot of high-income, industrialized economies consisting of China, whose birth level fell to its least expensive in 5 years in 2015, regardless of unwinding its one- then two-child policy. In Japan more adult nappies are offered than child nappies. Vladimir Putin is providing cash-for-kids benefits– day of rests to copulate and rewards consisting of refrigerators– to reverse Russia’s constant population decrease.

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“”/> ‘In China, the birth level was up to its least expensive level in 5 years in 2015, regardless of unwinding its one-, then 2-, kid, policy.’ Photo: AP

Why then exists an incomprehensible failure to see the mix of decreasing birth rates and durability– which press those vital reliance ratios lower– through a fertility or equality lens? The huge bulk of established economies are refraining from doing enough to subsidise the expenses of child care, or deal with real estate crises that hinder numerous– ladies and guys– from beginning a household earlier due to the fact that they do not have a house to call their own.

The political is, naturally, deeply individual. Significantly, lots of ladies who have actually pursued significant professions, or postponed childbearing due to the fact that they feel evaluated of being a parent– in addition to putting in long working hours– are counting on medication. Ever advanced IVF innovations are bringing delight to millions all over the world and might be validated on the individual level, as they might one day be for me. They are no replacement for developing kids naturally.

The effect of the impressive fall in birth rates is a transformation in human affairs that females ought to not need to bear alone. The significant decrease in male sperm counts in western nations, by majority in 40 years, ought to likewise set alarm bells sounding.

Fertility is a crucial marker for males’s health, associated as lower sperm counts are with an increased threat of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and sudden death in guys. One of the awful paradoxes of centuries of positioning many of the duty for fertility and child-rearing on females, is that we have actually neglected what is probably a looming public health crisis for guys. Freezing my eggs has actually permitted me to have a profession and still anticipate a future as a mom. Extensive fertility shifts need an extreme rethink of federal government policies and our business culture, as well as a sea modification in mindsets towards ladies, giving birth and being a parent by all.

We require to deal with the cultural and structural barriers that still punish ladies for having kids– there’s a factor it’s called the “motherhood charge”– and it’s a discussion that guys, for their sake and ours, require to sign up with. It’s difficult to speak about one’s personal fertility journey. The time for an educated dispute is beyond disagreement. The choices policymakers and magnate make today might have effects for generations to come. Let’s have that discussion now– prior to it’s too late.

Dearbhail McDonald’s RT One TELEVISION documentary, Fertility Shock , will be transmitted on 11 March. McDonald is group organisation editor, Independent Newspapers (Ireland)

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French doctors fail to solve mystery of babies with missing limbs

Officials say they cannot find any link between cases and will not investigate further

French doctors have admitted they do not know why clusters of babies have been born with limbs missing, saying they cannot find any link between the cases and will not be investigating further.

Thirteen children have been born missing hands, forearms or arms in three rural areas of France between 2007 and 2017.

The public health authorities had initially said the incidences of abnormality were probably down to chance. But doctors at a research organisation said the likelihood of it being coincidental was more than infinitesimal and demanded a full investigation.

They believe the clusters may be linked to the use of pesticides and described the French authorities lack of action as a health scandal.

Emmanuelle Amar, an epidemiologist and director of the group Remera told the Guardian it would be scientifically remiss not to continue research.

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. We must ask ourselves, what could be capable of halting this development and find it.

Amar said the most likely cause of the anomalies was environmental or medical, but warned against making presumptions. We have to have a social conscience.These are future children, future generations we are talking about, but they are also individual human dramas, she added.

The phenomenon was first reported near the village of Druillat in the Ain department of eastern France, where seven babies were born without arms, forearms or hands between 2009 and 2014. All lived within a 10.5-mile (17km) radius of the village in an area where maize or sunflowers were cultivated.

Three years later, three children were reported to have been born with similar birth defects between 2007 and 2008 in the town of Mouzeil in the Loire-Atlantique department of western France. In 2015, it was reported a further three children had been born with the same problems in the town of Guidel in Brittany between 2011 and 2013.

The public health authority Sant Publique France said about 150 babies a year in total were born with similar disfigurements in France.

The authority said the situation was tragic for the families concerned, but it declared the number of cases in the Ain department to be within the national average. However, it said the Loire-Atlantique and Brittany cases suggested an unusual cluster.

Franois Bourdillon, the authoritys director, said the families involved had been spoken to. We have listened to their parents and their grandparents and visited their homes. No environmental factor pesticides, for example can be blamed, he said. We have not identified a common exposure to the occurrence of these malformations.

In a statement, Sant Publique France said it had closed its investigation into the cases. The absence of a hypothesis of a possible common cause does not make it possible to hold further investigations, it said.

Amar said the authoritys conclusion was not acceptable and that the number of babies born with similar disfigurements in the Ain department was 58 times higher than what we would normally expect. Were saying to families that theyll have to live with questions and that its just bad luck, she said.

Remera said it had carried out its own investigation into the cases in the Ain, speaking to the mothers concerned to establish if there were any common factors. They have ruled out genetic causes as well as links to medication, food or alcohol consumed during pregnancies. They found no pattern of behaviour among the mothers.

We interviewed all the mothers with a very extensive questionnaire on their lifestyle. The only thing they have in common is that they all live in a very rural area.

Possible links to agriculture have been bolstered by reports that several calves were born missing tails and ribs at Chalamont, another village in the Ain department, at the time the cluster of disfigured babies occurred.

It is believed that this revolves around agriculture, Amar said, adding that it was vital for national health officials to launch a full investigation. She said Remera was facing funding cuts and could not continue looking into the clusters on its own.

Cline Figueiredo, whose four-year-old son Sacha was born in the Ain without a hand, said: I am outraged that no investigation has yet been launched. We have the means in France to investigate the causes of these malformations. They must try to give us answers rather than cover up the cases.

Yannick Jadot, a former Green party presidential candidate and member of the European parliament, said he was absolutely scandalised. What we seem to be ignoring is that its very likely these malformations are linked to pesticides, he told RTL radio.

We have never wanted to know in France; we dont want to do epidemiology studies around [waste] incinerators, around nuclear power stations, or on pesticides, because, once again, we dont want to know.

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