A study by Haifa University reveals that infants in several neighborhoods of the city are born on average with lower weights and smaller head circumferences than infants in other neighborhoods. The affected neighborhoods are those near the port and industrial areas on the lower reaches of Mount Carmel, as opposed to those on the higher levels of the mountain.
In addition, the study showed, incidences of lymphoma and lung cancer in the affected areas were five times greater than the national average.
The study, highlighted in a Channel Two report Sunday night, focuses on birth statistics compiled since 2012. The affected areas include three main epicenters – near the Haifa industrial zone in the northwest corner of the city, on the lower western reaches of Mount Carmel, and in the suburbs of Kiryat Bialik and Kiryat Tivon on the eastern side of the mountain.
The lower birth weight in these areas could be a major factor in future incidences of diabetes and high blood pressure, the scientists said. Other complications resulting could include asthma, as well as lower IQ scores among the affected.
In previous studies in recent months, cancer rates in the Haifa area were found to be significantly higher than in other parts of Israel. One study indicated that out of 60 cases of cancer in children 14 and under, 30 of them could be directly attributed to the poor environmental conditions in Haifa.