Re: the statement by the hack from the Secreariat of Environment and Natural resources that Valsequillo reservoir could not be poisoned because "only" 20-30% of its water supply was raw sewage:
This brings to mind Schopenhauer's law of entropy. If you put a spoonful of wine in a barrel full of sewage, you get sewage. If you put a spoonful of sewage in a barrel full of wine, you get sewage.To summerize our sad story so far:
Boot Hill, 6 June, 2007
1. The dam in Valsequillo, Puebla was completed in 1946
2. 22 nearby cities, town and villages immediately began dumping their raw sewage into the resulting reservoir.
3. By 1980, the people who lived around the reservoir and made their living from it, began digging water wells because the reservoir's water was no longer fit for human use.
4. By 1990 their water wells had been poisoned from the lakewater by heavy metal contamination as well as fecal coliform and muchos amoebae diferentes.
5. In 1999, Puebla University professor Antonio Valdez García began testing the well water, the reservoir water, local inhabitants' blood as well as cataloging birth defects, human mutations and moderate to severe learning disabilities.
6. Prof. Valdez García continued his annual reporting every year for eight years.
7. In October, 2006, the nationwide daily and most respected newspaper in the country published a detailed report of the human catastrophe occurring at Valsequillo.
8. The Puebla State government initially admitted the scope of the problems and went to work to try to begin to put in place a plan to clean up the reservoir and stop its further contamination.
So, after ignoring a mountain of evidence from a quiet university professor, a newspaper finally got the Puebla State government off the dime and moving in the right direction, right? No, left, er . . . wrong. The State Secretary of Urban development and Public Works, Javier García Ramírez, on November 16, 2006, said,
It can be seen in the children of the region that they suffer from low height (dwarfism) and they don't grow much because of the high lead contamination of the water. This must be treated as a public health problem.Secretary García Ramírez still has his job, I suppose, but he hasn't been heard from since.
On 22 May of this year, Roberto Morales, head of Los Servicios de Salud del Estado de Puebla (Puebla State Health Services), said,
When the researcher asks us and tells us with concrete evidence that he is certain that there is a contaminated area, with all due respect we'll look into it.In other words, by ignoring 8 years of faithfully filed reports as well as newspaper reports which blew the lid off this, Boss Morales says there is no problem. He has to have concrete evidence presented to him before the state's public health service will even visit the issue.
But not just because someone says there is an endemic illness in Chalchicomula are we going to go there.
What is also interesting here is the choice of words used by Boss Morales. What he is quoted as saying is this: "Pero no porque alguien diga hay una endemia en Chalchicomula, nos vamos a ir allá", manifestó el Secretario." Notice the word he used which I translated as "endemic illness", endemia.
Definición de endemiaProfessor García Valdez says that 10% of the total population exhibits birth defects, mutations and brain damage from the poisoned water supply. The professor examined 200 children and 50 of them exhibited the same problems. That's, lessee here, 25%. One has to wonder what Boss Morales would consider a "significant proportion". Probably 99% of the campesino population or .0001% of the high ranking, overpaid and incompetent bureaucrat population.
Se entiende por endemia la existencia en un área o región de una enfermedad dentro de una proporción no significativa sobre el número de casos habituales en ella.
Translation: It is understood by "endemia" the existence in an area or region a disease of an insignificant number of habitual cases within that area of region.
Reforma concludes this sad report:
Also, the Secretary of Urban Development, Javier García, admitted that there do exist cases of children with lead in their bloodstreams, but Morales, responsible for public health in Puebla, played down the importance of the issue.We move right along.
Here in the June 4 Reforma, their article begins:
Children with 6 fingers and toes, cleft lip, cleft palate and mental retardation are some of the effects of the water contamination in the reservoir at Valsequillo, Puebla.The newspaper goes on to quote Professor García Valdez´s study results in San José Tejaluca, located 500 meters from the lake.
Children examined: 200
High lead content in bloodstream: 200
Exhibiting one or more malformations or mutations: 50
Percent of children with malformations or mutations: 25%
Percent of total population with malformations or mutations: 10%
Reforma talked to a couple of other health experts.
Libia Vega Loyo, chief of the Laboratorio de Genética Toxicológica e Inmunología del Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (Genetic Toxicololy and Immunology Laboratory of the National Politechnic Institute), confirmed that the registered level (of lead) is extremely elevated.And from Carlos Vargas, of the Centro de Estudios del Nacimiento (Center for Birth Studies) says that damage from high lead levels is irreversible and,
"Levels (of lead) above normal alter development, especially among the youngest children, reduce learning capacity, cause mental retardation and neuroligical deficiencies."
What is most critical is that it affects the central and peripheral nervous system. For this reason something must be done.
Keeping in mind that he does work for a state sponsored institution, I nevertheless am a bit disappointed in Professor García Valdez's latest statement to Reforma. In spite of the support from a very powerful and highly respected national publication, he now says,
The malformations not only originate from the environment. That is a factor. But in this population another influential cause is the poverty as well as the lack of folic acid in mothers and the high rate of "blood mixing" . . . that is to say, intermarriage.Intermarriage, also known as incest. Hmmm. While the good researcher has without doubt been coming under an increasing amount of pressure from the university, surely he doesn't expect us to buy that. The conditions he described are endemic to most of the population of Mexico, not just to the Valsequillo area. In fact, these conditions are far worse in many other areas of the country, specifically Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas. But high levels of lead, up to 5 times the safe high limit, as well as 25% of the children suffering birth defects to one degree or another, do not exist in those or any other locales, at least to my knowledge.
There is no doubt that birth defects, mental retardation and mutancy also occur in higher proportions in Mexico than most anywhere else in the Americas, but nothing like this degree of severity and frequency exist anywhere else as they do in Valsequillo.
Seven year-old Gonzalo, the boy pictured with 24 digits instead of the normal 20?
I don't know why I'm like this. I was born like this.And there are others, like nine year-old Eric, who gets exited when his favorite soccer team, Chivas, is mentioned and brags that on the soccer pitch he has a "fearful cannon". He talks about his extra fingers and toes:
I do my homework. I wash my hands.
No one has told me it is a bad thing. I can do what I want, play like everyone else and I go to school.
More to come -- this ain't going away.
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by Mexican indigenous artists.
Cross posted at Pale Horse Galleries
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