The children of lead from Bajos de Haina and La Oroya

 By Lenin Cardozo

The cities of Bajos de Haina , about 20 miles west of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and La Oroya, located at 175 kilometers from Lima, department of Junin in Peru, are the most contaminated populations with lead in the American continent.

The common denominator of these two Latin American cities, is that the 99% of the children show levels of lead in their blood three times above the level of the maximum set by the World Health Organization. The origin of the problem is the lead oxide and the residual scum in the contaminated soil. Being this scum, who is visibly present on the surfaces of these two communities. Also, we have identified other heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, antimony and sulfur dioxide that are permanently “fertilizing” these lands, filling their soil with acid. Wherein over the time the lead has migrated and contaminated the lower layers of the subsoil, and consequently the water supplies, which at the same time, have contaminated food and everything that is treated with them.

The powders that contain lead come into the homes, by the air currents. To which make a direct exposure through the ingestion of the dust contaminated with lead. Such come into the body of the children by their airways and through their hands and mouth.

The child population in these two cities evidence a reduced IQ, a slow body growth, serious hearing problems, severe behavior problems or attention, poor school performance and kidney damages. In general, these communities suffer from asthma, bronchitis, flu, acute diarrheal infections, irreversible deterioration of the respiratory system, different types of cancer, adverse effects on the development and damage to vital organs. The expectation of the population is about 35 years. The lowest of the world, overcoming some populations from Africa where life expectancy is about 40 years.

The other great common denominator of these two communities, is that even though since the year 2005, environmental groups and the media have initiated campaigns tracks to these dramatic cases of the populations poisoning with lead , the truly environmental sanitation measures do not end up , everything has been remained in the speech, as limited, threatened to ‘take action. “The reality shows that lead is still there, consuming innocent lives. Ultimately, there is no suffering for the effects on the health of these Latin American communities, or its dignity, let alone the right to the life of their children.

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