Increase in Garfield Co. birth defects sparks investigation

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GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. Reported birth defects are on the rise in part of Garfield County, prompting an investigation.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is looking into an increase in birth defects detected in pregnancies between Rifle and Carbondale.

"At week 35 I believe, we discovered that Hayden had a cyst on his back and we did that through ultrasound and he was delivered two weeks early because of it," said Dennie Talbott, of New Castle.

Talbott's son Hayden is now a 17-year-old living with spina bifida. He uses a wheelchair to get around, but he said it hasn't stopped him from living life to the fullest.

"People are always afraid that it's going to be so hard for us," Hayden said. "It's nothing we can't handle."

Dennie Talbott said although her family has thrived from Hayden's disability, experts should find out what is causing birth defects in the area and try to fix the issue.

"We certainly want to do everything we can as quickly as possible to find out what the causes might be," she said. "It could be anything from environmental to our water sources to even what they spray on our roads. We just don't know."

The number and types of cases being looked at hasn't been released yet.

Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and CDPHE declined interviews at this point in the investigation process.

The report is set to come out in a few weeks after an epidemiologist evaluates the information.

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