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Scientists have no answers for why around a dozen babies have been born without arms or hands in parts of rural France - as an investigation fails to identify a cause.
An interim report published by the Health Ministry today said it did not know why children born in Ain, Morbihan and Loire-Atlantique since 2000 had the defects, known as upper limb reduction.
Births - Alarm - Public - Kind - Toxin
The births have raised alarm among the French public that they might be caused by some kind of toxin in food, water or air, or that pesticides might be responsible.
But the long-awaited interim report by Sante Publique France, an agency of the Health Ministry, offered no relief to families looking for answers.
Panel - Evidence - 'cluster - Cases - Ain
The expert panel concluded there was no evidence of a 'cluster' of cases in the Ain region, where it said there were six cases.
It said there was a cluster in Morbihan, which involved three babies.
Investigations - Loire-Atlantique
Additional investigations are to be carried out in nearby Loire-Atlantique.
The agency gave no figures for that area, but local media reported several cases.
Document - Experts - Conclusions - Factors - Stage
In the 265-page document, experts said it was impossible to draw definitive conclusions and that possible environmental factors would be assessed at a later stage.
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