Thursday, December 08, 2005

More on the Doe Run smelting plant

Guy Le Roux (famed Corpus Christi sailor, surfer and musician) spotted this on the Reuters news service and passed it on to me yesterday:

US-run smelter in Peru harming children

Wed Dec 7, 1:15 PM ET

Children in Peru's La Oroya mining town have harmful levels of toxic heavy metals, such as lead and arsenic, in their bodies, a study by U.S. scientists showed on Tuesday, in the first independent health probe into toxic gases pumped out by the U.S.-owned Doe Run metal refinery.

Scientists from St. Louis University said that, along with the high blood lead levels established by earlier studies, some children younger than six years old have dangerously high levels of arsenic and cadmium, substances linked to lung and skin diseases.

"Everyone in La Oroya is being poisoned by a cocktail of toxic metals, such as lead, arsenic, cadmium and other heavy metals," said Fernando Serrano, head of the study group at St. Louis health faculty.

The study showed that 97 percent of children in La Oroya younger than six have harmful levels of lead in their blood. Around 18 percent of the children have high arsenic levels and nearly 1 percent have cadmium levels.

Executives at The Doe Run Co.'s smelter in Peru's central Andes were not immediately available for comment.

Doe Run Peru says it has spent $78 million on modernization and by 2006 will have invested $94 million in steps to meet government environmental regulations, cutting workers' blood lead levels by a third.

But a recent study by Doe Run and Peru's Health Ministry showed 99.9 percent of children up to age six in La Oroya have abnormally high blood lead levels. Children have been measured in both studies because they are considered most susceptible to heavy metal poisoning, scientists said.

Missouri-based Doe Run says it is doing all it can to modernize the aging, blackened smelter, built in 1922 without environmental safeguards. The company plans to build a $100 million sulfuric acid plant to capture all toxic gases by 2009.


Drew Kampion said...

Correction: Guy Le Roux

timtraveler said...

Geez! Thanks. I didn't even think as I typed it. Sorry, Gye!

E. BAIG P. said...

Peru: study verifies contamination by mining operation The city of the Basket, to 175 kilometers of Lima, in central the $andes of Peru, has "extremely high" indices of contamination by lead, arsenic, dioxide of sulfur, antimony and other types of metals That conclusion consists in the first independent study made in the region, asked for by the archbishop of Huancayo and made by the University of Saint Louis (USL), in the United States. Complexo American miner Doe Run is the person in charge of the contamination of the region, that according to the investigators, forms a serious problem of public health. Near 99% of the children of the Basket they suffer of poisoning by lead, 20% needs urgent hospitalization; the level of contamination of the children is over the limits established by the World-wide Organization of Health (the WHO).

Perú: estudio comprueba contaminación por explotación minera
La ciudad de La Oroya, a 175 kilómetros de Lima, en los Andes centrales del Perú, posee índices "extremadamente altos" de contaminación por plomo, arsénico, dióxido de azufre, antimonio y otros tipos de metales
Esa conclusión consta en el primer estudio independiente realizado en la región, solicitado por el arzobispo de Huancayo y realizado por la Universidad de Saint Louis (USL), en Estados Unidos.
El complexo minero estadounidense Doe Run es el responsable de la contaminación de la región, que según los investigadores, configura un grave problema de salud pública. Cerca del 99% de los niños de La Oroya sufren de intoxicación por plomo, el 20% necesita de urgente hospitalización; el nivel de contaminación de los niños está por encima de los límites establecidos por la Organización Mundial de Salud (OMS).

timtraveler said...

Well, I guess this story is not a hidden as I thought!

Gracias, Emilio!

Genevieve said...

...asked for by the archbishop of Huancayo...

Good for him! Now that he has the proof, I hope he pursues justice and a cleanup.