The 18 cases are concentrated in three villages: in the department of the Ain, in Bretagne and in the Pays de la Loire. Belgium's Isabelle Taymans, a doctor, lived in Guidel, in Bretagne, a rural town. She never knew what was coming, though four babies were born without a hand or part of the arm in the same town in a two-year span. Her daughter, Charlotte, is 6 now.
We live in Brussels now, but have contact with the other parents almost on a daily basis
In all, there were 18 limbless babies across France in 15 years, but nobody knows how this could happen. The French authorities have started a national investigation now. All the parents involved got a questionnaire: maybe the future mums had painted their house? Where did they buy their vegetables? Did they take any medicines?
But there are no answers so far. Charlotte's parents try to keep the whole issue in the spotlights, hoping that the mystery will be solved one day. "Though we are living in Brussels now, we have contact with the other parents in France almost on a daily basis."
Who knows, more cases could emerge. But will we ever find the cause?
But until the today, the mystery remains. "We know of three clusters so far. Who knows more cases will pop up? In France or somewhere else in Europe?" says Taymans. "But this being said, the question remains whether we will ever find the cause."
The Belgian doctor and her husband are not eager to make too many speculations. Could it be a local pollution? Could the tap water have been polluted? Most mothers lived in a rural area. Detectives are looking into the theory of pesticides as well. But so far, there is not any kind of evidence for any kind of theory.