THE BORDER BABIES

DID TOXIC WASTE FROM U.S. FACTORIES ACROSS THE BORDER DAMAGE THE ENVIRONMENT OF A TEXAS TOWN?

The photo is at once sad and gruesome, but Janet Ramirez treasures it. Dressed in a white hospital gown, an IV hooked up to her arm, the mother clasps her newborn baby, Maria Guadalupe. Only if you look closely can you see that the baby's face is a death mask; a white cap discreetly covers the gaping hole in the back of her skull.

It has been more than five years since a ghastly plague passed through Brownsville, Texas, crippling and killing dozens of newborn babies. From 1988 to '92, 25 children were born with the spinal-nerve defect called spina bifida;...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!