FIRST AIR TEST FOR TOXIC CONTAMINATION IN MEXICO SHOWS DANGEROUS CHEMICALS IN EVERY BREATH TAKEN BY PEMEX NEIGHBORS
A sample of the air breathed daily under 'low' pollution conditions in
neighborhoods around a PEMEX refinery has revealed for the first time
ever in Mexico that dangerous levels of toxic chemicals are endangering
the health of thousands of people. For the first time in Mexico,
independent tests by PEMEX watchdog group APETAC and the international
group Global Community Monitor, have supplied real evidence offsite of
serious toxic exposure from petrochemical operations.
A total of 23 chemicals were detected in the air sample. This confirms
that residents downwind of the PEMEX refinery are exposed to a toxic soup
of hazardous chemicals in every breathe they take. Mexico currently has
no comprehensive program to monitor, control or enforce health
protections for toxic chemicals found in the APETAC sample.
"The results of the tests conducted by Columbia Analytical Services are a
second danger signal (red light) in the zone that requires careful
attention. Previous tests encountered dioxins, PCBs and
hexacholorobenzene. Now the concentrations of volatile organic compounds
in the air of Minatitlan are shown to be very dangerous for human health"
said Lorenzo Bozada a well-known Mexican ecologist, based in
Coatzacoalcos, who has served as a scientific advisor to Apetac and other
Mexican community-based organizations.
"Unfortunately, Mexico joins a growing list of nations who have poisonous
air caused by waste and poor operations caused by petrochemical
pollution," said Denny Larson of Global Community Monitor, an
international organization that trains industrial neighbors on air
sampling. "The good news is that impacted communities in Veracruz are
armed with their own 'lie detectors' to gather evidence to force industry
and government to clean up!"
At least three of the chemicals detected exceeded US health based
screening levels to protect public health. One chemical, 1,2,4-
Trimethylbenzene, was found at 32 times above the US EPA Screening level
for health risk. According to the State of California Air Resources
Board, inhalation of 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene has been reported to cause
headache, fatigue, drowsiness, decreases in levels of red and white blood
cells, impairment of blood coagulation, and bronchitis.
Toluene was found in the sample to be twice the safe level set by the US
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toluene is a
Neurotoxin that can harm brain and central nervous system and
Development Toxicant that can interfere with normal development of a
fetus or children.
Carbon Disulfide was found at levels seven times higher than a health
screening level set by the state of Texas. The chemical is known to cause
birth defects and may damage the liver and kidney.
The following chemicals were found in the sample to exceed US Health
- Toluene 57 ppbv
The reported value of 57 ppbv is ABOVE the following Levels of Concern:
Texas Long-Term Screening Level 49.0 ppbv
ATSDR Chronic Minimal Risk Level 25.0 ppbv
- Carbon Disulfide 7.0 ppbv
The reported value of 7.0 ppbv is ABOVE the following Levels of Concern:
Texas Long-Term Screening Level 0.947 ppbv
- 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene 200 ug/m3
The reported value of 200 ug/m3 is ABOVE the following Levels of
Concern: EPA Region 6 Screening Level of 6.20 ug/m3
and TX ESL - long term Screening Level of 125 ug/m3
The air sample was taken in Minatitlan, Mexico at April 26 Street on
February 15, 2006. Official chain of custody forms accompanied the
sample to the US EPA certified laboratory which verified the results of
Other toxic chemicals found in the air sample, include:
n-Butyl Ethere N Butyl Acrylate
C H Branched Alkane
C10 H14 Aromatic Compound
C10 H2 Branched Alkane + C10 H14 Aromatic Compound
For more information on the "Bucket Brigade" see www.bucketbrigade.net
February 5, 2006
APETAC - Ecological Producers Association of Tatexco
Contact: Gonzalo Rodriquez Merales.
Address: Tulipan No.4 Santa Rosa, Ixhuatlan del Sureste, Veracruz.
MEET THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY MONITOR working to reduce industrial pollution:
Denny Larson of the Bucket Brigadas (www.gcmonitor.org).
Denny Larson worked with Erin Brockovich - known for the film of the
same name with Julia Roberts - in legal cases against polluting
industries in the state of California, USA. From Tuesday February 7th
through Friday February 10th he will be in Southern Veracruz to conduct
training workshops on the "bucket brigade" model for industrial monitoring.
Mr. Larson will launch the bucket brigade program with the community-
based organization Apetac, which has been working for the past eight
years to protect the environment of the petrochemical zone of Southern
Veracruz. Apetac won the first successful legal case of environmental
crime in Mexico against Pemex in the year 2000. The case concerned
activities of the Pemex contractor "Urbis", found guilty of dumping
toxic wastes in the Ejido Felipe Berriozabal of the municipality of
Ixhualtan del Sureste.
Denny Larson is Director of the non-profit organization Global Community
Monitor (GCM) that promotes environmental justice and human rights for
communities in industrial zones in order that they may re-create clean,
healthy and sustainable environments.
GCM offers hands-on tools so that affected communities can protect their
own neighborhoods. Based on community knowledge and new techniques, those
who live near industry gain power to reduce the environmental risks that
GCM creates successful strategies so that major corporations may be held
accountable in the United Status and other parts of the World.
Comunicado de Prensa:
Brigada de Baldes.
APETAC - Ecological Producers Association of Tatexco
Los dias 7 a 10 de febrero estara en el sur de Veracruz el Senor Denny
Larson, que trabajo con "Erin Brockovich" (conocida por la pel�cula de
Julia Roberts) en los casos juridicos contra las industrias contaminantes
Estara con la Asociaci�n Civil Apetac que ya lleva ocho anos luchando
para proteger el medio-ambiente de la zona petroquimica del sur de
Veracruz. Apetac (Asociaci�n de Productores Ecologistas Tatexco) llevo el
primer caso exitoso de delito ambiental en Mexico en contra de PEMEX, que
contrato la empresa Urbis en el desecho de residuos toxicos en el ejido
de Felipe Berriozabal.
Denny Larson es Director de la organizaci�n no-lucrativa "Global
Community Monitor" (Velador Global Comunitaria) que se dedica a la
justicia ambiental y los derechos humanos de las comunidades
industrialies para que renuevan su medio ambiente a ser saludable,
limpio y sostenible.
Fue creado para proveer herramientas praticas para que las comunidades
impactadas pueden vigilar su propia lugar. Basado en conocimiento
comunitario y nuevas technical, ellos que viven cerca a la industria
incrementa su poder a reducer los riesgos ambientales.