Officials: Vernal stillbirths warrant study

VERNAL, Utah (AP) — Utah health officials are pledging to investigate claims that stillbirths are on the rise in an Eastern Utah community home to a boom in gas and oil development.

Industrial smog is ruining a climbing rate of pregnancies in the Uinta Basin town on Vernal, activists say.

But researchers and health officials say they aren't ready to draw the link. They say they first need to study whether the infant death rate there is indeed rising.

Midwife Donna Young tells the Salt Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/1uK8nz2) a series of fresh, tiny graves indicates a troubling trend.

University of Utah obstetrics professor Bob Silver says a variety of factors can lead to neonatal deaths, including bad luck.

Vernal sees heightened sometimes unhealthy wintertime ozone levels as drilling uncovers the Uinta Basin's hydrocarbon riches.

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