Radioactivity detected in Guanajuato aquifers

The rapid growth of cancer in the state seems to be linked to the consumption of water contaminated with arsenic, fluoride and radioactivity.
Wells with arsenic, fluoride and other metals have been detected in Celaya, Irapuato, León, San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, San Luis de la Paz, Doctor Mora, San Diego Unión, Tierra Blanca and San José Iturbide. (Photo: Archive/El Universal)
14/12/2015
11:29
Esteban David Rodríguez
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The National Institute for Nuclear Research (ININ) of Mexico's Energy Ministry certified the presence of "alpha" radiation in the water of San José Iturbide, Guanajuato.

The radiation is 300% above the tolerable levels for human consumption established in the Norm No. 127.

Radioactivity can destroy tissues and slowly and silently kill people who drink this water by accumulation. In two years Guanajuato climbed from 14th to fourth place in child cancer cases. 19% of the patients developed leukemia and 4%, bone tumors.

Moreover, studies conducted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) documented 45 deaths in Tierra Blanca -a municipality adjacent to San Miguel de Allende- between 2000 and 2010 that could be related to a carcinogenic substance that comes from the erosion of rocks. Of those deaths, 14 were caused by a "rare" type of cancer.

Also, eight cases of leukemia were registered in the community of La Cantera, in the municipality of San José Iturbide, five of them fatal, well above the national average.

The rapid growth of cancer in Guanajuato seems to be linked to the consumption of water contaminated with arsenic, fluoride and radioactivity, according to official certifications, academic research and testimonies from doctors and institutions of the region, both public and private.

Between 8,000 and 11,000 cases of dental or skeletal fluorosis were registered in the last 15 years in municipalities served by the Independence Basin. Guanajuato ranks fifth in kidney diseases.

Foreign academic institutions have also studied the problem. The University of Northern Illinois, in collaboration with the NGO Centro de Desarrollo Agropecuario (Cedesa) and the Center of Applied Technology and Indigenous Sustainability, identified 46 wells in the region in critical condition. In 31 of them, fluoride levels surpass the sanitary standard, while 14 have arsenic concentrations that exceed national and international limits.

Also, according to studies conducted by researchers from the Center for Geosciences (CGEO) of UNAM and the IMSS, a substance called erionite that comes from rocks after drying is present in the municipalities of Tierra Blanca and San Miguel de Allende.

According to the study, published last year in the journal Environmental Geochemical, of the 45 cancer deaths registered between 2000 and 2012 in the region, 14 were linked to the presence of erionite fibers in the environment, because the victims developed a rare type of cancer associated with this substance called malignant mesothelioma, that attacks lungs, chest and heart tissues.

CGEO has identified wells with arsenic, fluoride and other metals in 10 municipalities of Guanajuato: Celaya, Irapuato, León, San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, San Luis de la Paz, Doctor Mora, San Diego Unión, Tierra Blanca and San José Iturbide. Other sources add Salvatierra and Salamanca to the list.

This pollution adds to the carcinogenic substances in the aquifers of La Laja river and Laguna Seca, in the Lerma-Chapala Basin.

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