Over £1 million have been spent already on defense in a case brought against a UK council by families of kids born with webbed hands, or without fingers altogether, even though toxicology experts say that the rate of abnormality in Corby runs 10 times as high as the national average.
The families seek a multi-million pound award for the birth defects, claimed to be caused by a mismanagement of toxic waste dumps from the steel industry in Corby. Mothers say that they were exposed during the 80s and 90s, and the lead solicitor says he has medical evidence that proves the defects are linked to the dumps.
“We have now got medical reports that rule out alternative explanations for what caused the limb deformities in these children.” – Des Collins
Corby Borough Council denies any responsibility and has already spent £1 million on lawyers and a public relations firm to defend against the allegations.
“We have a great deal of sympathy with every child involved in this litigation, as well as with their families. However, for the past five years we have thoroughly investigated every aspect of the claims they are making and we know that there is no link between the reclamation work that was carried out in Corby, over a period of 20 years, and these children’s birth defects.” – Chris Mallender, Corby council’s chief executive
Some are comparing this case to the thalidomide case of the 60s and 70s, but critics are saying that the only teratogen known to have produced human limb defects in the UK is thalidomide, and therefore this lawsuit should be dropped.
“It would need to be proven that during the crucial stage of their pregnancy they were subject to huge doses of offending teratogens.” – Dr Anthony Emmerson, St Mary’s Hospital
Image: extranoise at Flickr under Creative Commons