Birth defects spike in Washington

What do you make of this, McGyver?
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/rare-birth-defects-still-spiking-washington-state-n86916
Lois

Well, of course, nothing is established, but:

Anencephaly and other physical and mental deformities have also been blamed on a high exposure to such toxins as lead, chromium, mercury, and nickel
From Wikipedia].

A friend who lives in Washington wrote this:
The three counties mentioned are adjacent in Eastern Washington and just happen to be surrounding the tri-cities where the Hanford Nuclear site is located and clearly some think that is the cause. That might be coincidence or not.
This area is also largely agricultural. Not sure what they specifically grow there but likely apples or wheat. According to one article they also grow corn, grapes (wine?) potatoes and asparagus. I guess it is possible that some of the herbicides or pesticides might be implicated, but why has this not shown up somewhere else if that is the case?
Lois

What do you make of this, McGyver? http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/rare-birth-defects-still-spiking-washington-state-n86916 Lois
While disease clusters always raise alarm they are often just examples of normal distribution with no meaningful cause. There is always gong to be some variability in the incidence of illness from one location to another. Imagine a map on the floor and you take a handful of rice. Each rice grain represents a sick individual. Throw it up in the air and watch where it lands on the map. Its not going to be an even distribution. There are gong to be some areas that have more or less grains especially if you start artificially dividing the map to include more rice grains after the rice has fallen. Just as with rice grains, humans don't distribute themselves completely randomly and the lines drawn around the areas of cluster ar often artificially drawn up after the cases occur to include all reported cases. There are many reasons why there might be clusters of diseases in an area. Individuals in any given geographical region are more likely to be genetically similar, medical care may vary by region, diet, alcoholism, smoking, drug use, and cultural habits are more likely to be similar by region. There are just too many confounding variable involved in cluster cases and the vast majority of them do not turn out to be secondary to environmental issues like polluted air or water or food which are the things everyone is always concerned about.
While disease clusters always raise alarm they are often just examples of normal distribution with no meaningful cause. There is always gong to be some variability in the incidence of illness from one location to another. Imagine a map on the floor and you take a handful of rice.
This was my first thought. In my 30 years of practice, I have only seen one case of anencephaly, but I have seen 'clusters' of other 'rare' diseases, and usually it shows up and we say "hmmm", and while it is being investigated, it disappears into the ether. In some cases we figure out the cause, in most cases, there is none apparent and it just goes away.

I guess I have to avoid jumping to conclusions. When I first saw the title of this thread, I immediately thought it was the other Washington and thought, “Yeah, we have a whole Congress of them.”
Occam

I guess I have to avoid jumping to conclusions. When I first saw the title of this thread, I immediately thought it was the other Washington and thought, "Yeah, we have a whole Congress of them." Occam
:lol: