Child Mortality Rates Highest in Haifa Due to Air Pollution

New report finds carcinogenic substances released in air due to industry in northern port city.

Child mortality rates in the northern port city of Haifa are higher than any other city in Israel, a new report published on Sunday revealed.

The report, compiled by the Coalition for Public Health, cited severe air pollution as the most serious risk to children's health in the Haifa Bay area.

Children's exposure to such pollution may stunt their growth, and their bodies may accumulate higher concentrations of poisonous substances.

According to the report, the Haifa Bay area contains higher mortality rates among children suffering from respiratory diseases - apparently due to the rate of air pollution.

The report separates the Haifa Bay area from other urban areas in Israel because its pollution derives not only from transportation but also from industrial sources such as oil and electricity production.

It mentions that Haifa contains a higher concentration of nickel, which is released into the air during the production of electricity.

"Poisonous substances are released into the air in our area, and some of them are considered carcinogenic," the report writes.

"Some other substances are also suspected to be carcinogenic and others weaken the immune system, reproduction system, nervous system, and hormonal system. This air pollution has been preserved over generations because health regulations have not been forced on factories and they were not required to start using pollution reducing technologies."

The new report claims that one of the main pollution sources are distillation plants. The distillatory company did recently take measures to reduce pollution, one of the steps being a check-up system to locate pollution centers dispersed in places other than chimneys. Likewise, fuel containers are now being covered in order to prevent the release of toxic fumes. The company has also declared their intention to start using natural gas.