Health Ministry refutes claim Haifa newborns have smaller heads

There is no difference in the head circumference of newborns in the Haifa Bay region, compared to those born in the rest of the country over the past six months, the Health Ministry has found.
It said on Wednesday, after collecting data from well-baby (tipat halav) centers around the country, that the claim of University of Haifa researchers that air pollution was causing smaller heads in babies in the area was false.
“This is based on raw data and a preliminary processing of averages only,” the ministry said, “but we are continuing to work on the data in a transparent process.”
The University of Haifa data was leaked to Channel 2 TV after only one year’s collection of data in a five-year ongoing study.
According to the ministry, average head circumferences of newborns ranged from 34.40 centimeters for boys born in the Kinneret district to 34.9 in Acre, and for female babies from 33.97 centimeters in Rehovot to 34.32 centimeters in Acre.
“As for the Haifa study, we stress that in any scientific research, one must corroborate the data and conclusions and carry out peer review to ensure the quality of the data.”