Experts are still claiming to have no idea what's causing an increase in neural tube birth defects throughout central Washington, at a rate that's much higher than in the rest of the country.
Since 2010, more than 30 babies have been diagnosed with anencephaly, a "nightmarish neural tube defect in which the fetus does not develop a forebrain, and the rest of the brain is not covered by skin or bone."
Most babies plagued with this horrid condition either die in the womb or survive for only minutes after birth.
The anencephaly cases are occurring in a three-county area in central Washington, including Yakima, Benton and Franklin. This particular region is known for being a major agricultural hub, producing cherries, grapes, apples, potatoes and wheat, all cultivated with pesticides containing nitrates.
Also, the Hanford nuclear site occupies a vast area of land near this region.