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Poncitlán residents demonstrate last year to protest polluted water. Poncitlán residents demonstrate last year to protest polluted water.

Kidney disease is at epidemic levels: data

People in Poncitlán 'are urinating pesticides,' says researcher

Data has confirmed what has been suspected for some time: chronic kidney disease in the municipality of Poncitlán, Jalisco, is at epidemic levels.

The incidence of children with kidney disease in the municipality is 10 times that of the rest of the state while adults are four times more likely to have it, according to statistics compiled by the Guadalajara Foundation of Civil Hospitals.

The presence of elevated levels of heavy metals and pesticides in the area is believed to be the cause of the problem although research is ongoing.

Guillermo García García, the head of the nephrology department at the Civil Hospital of Guadalajara, stated that the majority of the 600 cases of renal insufficiency detected in Poncitlán are at an advanced stage and that 35 are in renal replacement therapy or have already received a transplant.

He also made a dire warning.

“In Jalisco . . . the prevalence of [renal] replacement therapy is around 600 per million inhabitants. In the municipality of Poncitlán it’s around 2,500 per million inhabitants. This is an epidemiological contingency and if we don’t do anything, the number of patients that are going to require dialysis or a transplant is going to rise.”

A research project called “Study of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Cause” has focused on the 950 inhabitants of Agua Caliente, where the incidence of kidney disease is highest.

Doctor Felipe Lozano Kasten, who heads up the multidisciplinary team from the University of Guadalajara Center of Health Sciences that is working on the project, says that exposure to pesticides looks a likely culprit.

“We’ve done around 400 tests on children in Agua Caliente, looking for different types of pesticides. We found seven pesticides in their urine, with two of these present in more than 80% of the children. There is a good percentage of the population that is urinating pesticides that they have contact with.”

Molinate, dimethoate, 2,4-D metoxuron, picloram and glyphosate were among the pesticides detected.

In collaboration with the Secretariat of the Environment the team has also measured particulate matter in the air, as very fine chemical particles can also be harmful to the kidneys because they can pass through the lungs.

Final research results are expected by the end of the year.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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