California approves expansion of toxic waste site said to have caused birth defects

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State officials have approved a major expansion of a toxic waste landfill in Central California that residents say has caused birth defects in children.

Deborah Raphael, director of the California Department of Toxic Substances, said Wednesday that the Kettleman Hills landfill can grow to 15 million cubic yards, marking a 50 percent expansion.

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Raphael and officials at Chemical Waste Management Inc. cite state reports that say there's no link between the landfill and birth defects.

The decision on expansion came years after officials at Chemical Waste Management asked the state for permission to expand In 2008.

The landfill is near the farming community of Kettleman City off Interstate 5 midway between Sacramento and Los Angeles. It's one of two hazardous waste landfills operating in California, and the largest in the West.

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