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Posted Fri Feb 13 2009: from Latin America Press:
Farming chemicals cause kidney failure
More than 3,000 workers at a sugar plant owned by Nicaragua's most powerful company have died from chronic renal failure since 1990 and a victims' group says another 5,000 workers have since developed the condition for the company's use of agrochemicals. The San Antonio Refinery is owned by the Nicaragua Sugar Estates Limited, a part of Grupo Pellas, which produces Flor de Cana rum as well as ethanol and runs an electricity generator in Chichigalpa in the northern León department... Grupo Pellas denies any wrongdoing, accuses the sick workers of being alcoholics or drug addicts, and says that the illness is provoked by other causes. But a 2006 study by the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, cited by Artoni, found that 95 percent of the 26 wells that serve the northwest of the country and close to 96 percent of the small family-only use wells are contaminated with feces, herbicides, bacteria and agrochemicals. According to a recent investigation by the university, there is a possible cause-effect relation between the laborers' work and kidney failure. Dr. Cecilia Torres, an occupational health researcher at the university told the Latin American Regional Office of the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations that environmental neurotoxins, such as heavy metals -- arsenic, cadmium and lead -- and agrochemicals such as aldrin, chlorothalonil, maneb, copper sulfate, endrin and Nemagon, are major causes of chronic kidney failure in Nicaragua.
[Read more stories about: contamination, corporate farming, pesticide runoff, heavy metals]

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'Doc Jim says:
Maybe they're "alcoholics and drug addicts" because their kidneys are failing!

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