Report due on limb defects

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THE Government is taking action on reports of clusters of babies born with deformed hands or no hands, John Major made clear in a letter to Peter Mandelson, MP for Hartlepool, where the limb defects have been identified, writes Patricia Wynn Davies. The letter follows the MP's calls for a national investigation.

An Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS) national analysis of limb reduction defects to scrutinise the geographical pattern is due to be completed within a few weeks. The Department of Health and OPCS is in discussion with the Environmental Epidemiology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, to identify and make provision for additional expertise that may be required.