Letter to The Editor: High Infant Mortality
4/9/99 - Revised 4/13/99
ACE is very alarmed at the high infant mortality rates in Pottstown. We disagree with the health department that it is good news that these numbers are better than state and national statistics – every infant death is one too many. It is all bad news. All the levels are too high.
We strongly agree that all pregnant women, as well as new mothers and babies, should have access to health care, not just 90%. We believe the health department must also consider excessive hazardous pollution as a possible factor affecting our high infant mortality. It is always easy, and often a mistake, to attribute high illness and death rates solely to lifestyle, lack of education, poverty, lack of transportation, and race.
The health department cancer investigation revealed that we have significantly elevated lung and cervical cancers. This report also revealed a doubled leukemia rate. The DEP reported that we have radioactivity in the landfill. There are studies available that should have caused further investigation into pollution as a potential cause of these alarming statistics. Instead, we ended up with another expansion of what could be a major contributor to the problems.
There are several studies showing that exposures to low level radioactivity are linked to leukemia, low baby birth weight, and infant mortality. There are absolutely no studies that show it is safe to live with the kinds of toxic pollution and radioactivity found in our area.
We sincerely hope the Montgomery County Health Department investigation of infant mortality in our area will go well beyond simply blaming the victims and their parents. We urge consideration of proximity to pollution and radioactivity as possible causes for high infant mortality in this area. We urge investigators to research all available information on both subjects.
Dr. Lewis Cuthbert
P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464