DNA Data From California Newborn Blood Samples Stored, Sold To 3rd Parties
This might come as a surprise to California natives in their 20s and early 30s: The state owns your DNA.
Every year about four million newborns in the U.S. get a heel prick at birth, to screen for congenital disorders, that if found early enough, can save their life.
Danielle Gatto barely remembers the nurse even mentioning test performed on her two daughters. “I don’t think that any woman is in a state of mind to sit down and start studying up on the literature they send you home with,” she said.
But later she was shocked to find, her daughters’ leftover blood was not thrown away. “The state collects the cards and then uses them in a database,” she said. The information is buried on page 12 of the brochure about the Newborn Screening Program that hospitals give parents of newborns before they go home.
Turns out a non-descript office building in Richmond contains the DNA of every person born in California since 1983. It’s a treasure trove of information about you, from the color of your eyes and hair to your pre-disposition to diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Using these newborn blood spots for research, the state is able to screen babies for 80 hereditary diseases. But the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is not the only agency using the blood spots. Law enforcement can request them. Private companies can buy them to do research – without your consent. “Everybody has a right to make an informed decision. That is not for the state to decide for them,” said Gatto. …