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michigan department of community health

Growing up in poverty and pollution

Apr 24, 2014
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In Michigan, thousands of kids suffer with diseases that are worsened by poverty and pollution. It's a combination that's costing society far more than most people know. 

What issues do health experts think are causing these problems? Why haven't policy-makers come up with the money to fix these problems? What is the price of allowing these problems go ignored? We'll answer these questions in this hour long documentary, Growing Up in Poverty and Pollution. 

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Behind the statistics: A personal tragedy

We talked previously about Chantania Smith and her struggle with losing a child. 

Six months into her pregnancy, Smith’s doctors discovered she had a short cervix, which is a major cause of preterm birth and a leading indicator for infant mortality.

When she went into labor a month and a half later, the umbilical cord prolapsed and came out first, and Smith was rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section.  

On January 14, 2010, she gave birth to a little baby boy named Jerome – JJ for short. 

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When it comes to keeping infants alive in Michigan, we're not doing that great a job.

Michigan's infant mortality rate has been higher than the national average for more than two decades. 

Here are the latest numbers:

For every 1,000 babies born in Michigan, roughly seven won't make it to their first birthday.