Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Puebla, Mexico: State government successfully creates race of super human midgets. UPDATE III

If you're a new visitor or haven't read the first 3 posts concerning the environmental and human disaster at Valsequillo reservoir, please read these posts first, and in order. You can bring yourselves up to date.

Puebla, Mexico: State government successfully creates race of super human midgets.
Update I
Update II

These posts detail the 6 decades-long poisoning of Mexico's largest reservoir by at least 22 municipalities which surround it, including two state capitols (Puebla and Tlaxcala) and the nation's fifth largest city (Puebla). The posts quote and link to a series of reports in the respected national daily Reforma which initially blew the lid off of this scandal last October and has been following it ever since.

Unfortunately, you can only see Reforma's front page unless you have a subscription. In any event, Reforma details and I relay to you the poisoning of the lake beginning with its formation in 1946, the abandonment of the lake as a source of income and recreation since 1980 and annual studies carried out since 1999 by a respected university researcher which detail the lead and other heavy metal poisoning of the people who live near the reservoir and the resulting mutations, birth defects, mental retardation and learning defects manifested in the citizens' children. The posts also point out that, once Reforma made a big public spectacle of Valsequillo, the state government's initial reaction seemed to be a reasoned one. But also how, once the bureaucrats became at least dimly aware of the scope and magnitude of the disaster and its attendant costs to fix same, the government of the pedophile-enabling governor Mario Marin, as well as the "Gober precioso" himself, have been furiously back-pedalling.

Now we'll take a look at the latest.

On May 23, the Servicios de Salud del Estado de Puebla (SSEP -- Puebla Health Services) organized what it called a "Sanitary Fence" around the lake. One might also translate "cerco sanitario" as a "quarantine". One would be wrong. The SSEP claimed that it sent in "120 brigade members" to begin testing the lake water for heavy metals and to perform a "public opinion poll". Quite a "sanitary fence", eh?
Howdy. Is it ya'll's opinion that ya got any lead in yer blood? Hows about lead in yer pencil? Ya'll got any of that?
I guess.

And Puebla State University (UAP) professor Antonio Valdez García was quick to point that out.
It will be useless (the SSEP "study") because they're not considering that it's the rainy season and this causes the materials' (heavy metals -- lead, mercury, cadmium, etc.) concentrations to be diluted. The fall of pure water causes the contaminants concentrations to be diluted and they will register their minimal concentrations.

To be reliable (the studies) they'll have to be done during the dry season, in April, January, , February or in November. Now they are biased, during this season they are going to be biased.
The professor didn't have too much confidence in the opinion poll approach and said the study would only be reliable if the SSEP set up a "serious protocol" prior to any study. Gee, ya think?

The professor said that an opinion poll was insufficient and blood tests were necessary.
In addition, the professor criticized the SSEP's even testing adults at all. To begin with, he explained, 90% of ingested lead is expelled by an adult's body. But a child's body retains and accumulates fully 30% of ingested lead.

He suggested that to arrive at a credible result, the state must test pre-school and primary school children.

He insisted that they will have to weigh and measure the children, interview them and conduct blood tests.
And then comes this not-too-surprising and endemic-to-the-entire-Mexican socialist health care system:
Another problem, said Valdez, was that the symptoms of those who had lead in their blood are similar to gastro-intestinal diseases and public health doctors confuse them.

. . .

"The medical personnel that attend to these symptoms are interns (just passing through) and are ill prepared to detect illnesses produced by intoxication from lead and mercury."
Another moron heard from

And now comes the Secretario del Medio Ambiente (state Secretary of the Environment), one Francisco Castillo, ever mindful of the source of his daily graft, to challenge Professor Valdez. Castillo said that the state had found "traces" of lead, but at levels far below those claimed by Prof. Valdez. He called upon the professor to tell him where the lead was found.
"I want that he tells me where it is and not just to pick a fight with him. If pollution exists then we'll take the necessary measures to protect the population."

"As before, if you tell me there is pollution, then, by golly, we must go to the point where it was found."

The secretary asked that there be no speculation about the problem so as to avoid generating alarm.

He maintained that the research that publicized the presence of contaminants in the reservoir lacked substance.
Apparently Secretary Castillo believes that lead concentrations school themselves up like sardines, or something. Here they is and here they ain't. Professor Valdez's 8 years of data indicate that the lead is on the lake water, in it, under it, in the well water surrounding the lake, in the bloodstreams, tissues and milk of cattle that graze around the lake and in the bloodstreams of the adults and children who live all around the lake. Is that good enough for you, Mr. Secretary? It should be easy to find since it never, ever goes away.

To add to the hilarity, these statements were made by Sec'y Castillo on May 31, while the "study" being conducted by the SSEP began on May 23, eight days prior. And the SSEP "study", such as it was, was being conducted at three critical locations: San Baltasar Tetela, Los Ángeles Tetela y San Pedro Zacachimalpa. Professor Valdez had reported the following results from blood tests on 5000 children living around the lake relative to lead concentrations:
Permissible limit per Mexican law: 5 micrograms per liter of blood.

San Baltasar Tetela - 21.4 (more than 4 times the limit)

Los Ángeles Tetela - 21.7 (more than 4 times the limit)

San Pedro Zacachimalpa - 12.7 (more than double the limit)
There you go, Sec'y Castillo. You can start at any one of those three locations, by golly.

More to come as I can get to it.

Note: Spellcheck is working again so this post should not be so fraught with errors.

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