Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: guatemala ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: guatemala
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: marshall6411-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 21 Jul 2006 06:42 PDT
Expires: 20 Aug 2006 06:42 PDT
Question ID: 748249
I need information on environmental toxins and their effect on newborn
children in Guatemala.
Subject: Re: guatemala
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 21 Jul 2006 18:01 PDT
Hello  Marshall6411,     

    One of the primary causes of birth defects in Guatemala is caused
by unprocessed corn and lack of folic acid (folate), rather than other
toxins or pesticides. However, pesticides and chemicals that are
banned in the US are exported to lesser developed countries. Smoke and
toxic chemical fumes are dangerous to children and babies. This is
discussed further down in the answer.

   ?Teratogens are broadly categorized into five groups: (1) physical
agents such as radiation, (2) environmental pollutants like methyl
mercury; (3) maternal illness or disturbances of the mother?s
metabolism such as maternal insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or
maternal iodine deficiency;
(4) maternal infections, including rubella and toxoplasmosis; and (5)
drugs, both medicinal and recreational (Seashore and Wappner, 1996).
As noted above, a specific cause cannot be designated in approximately
50 percent of all children born with birth defects. Some of these
birth defects may be due to new autosomal dominant mutations,
submicroscopic chromosome deletions or uniparental disomy (Turnpenny
and Ellard, 2005). Causes for birth defects continue to be identified,
so the percentage of birth defects of unknown cause can be expected to
decrease in the future.?

   Surprisingly, unprocessed corn and fumonisin is one culprit. Please
read the entire article for further information. (NTD stands for
neural tube defects, such as spina bifida)

   ?The United States, Canada and Europe continue to allow the
production and exportation of various toxic chemicals, including some
prohibited in their own countries, to Mexico, Guatemala and other
countries. Pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other man-made poisons
are used increasingly on crops where indigenous people work. Between
1996 and 2000, the United States exported 1.1 billion pounds of
pesticides, that is, 16 tons per hour, that were identified as
suspected carcinogens, according to the IITC.?

   ?Guatemala Antimicrobial Resistance
The WHO External Quality Assessment Schemes (EQAS) proficiency and
quality control program is conducted by NCID's Division of Healthcare
Quality Promotion (DHQP). DHQP staff select and package susceptible
and resistant control strains of bacteria for testing and ship them to
participating international laboratories in 40 countries, including
Guatemala, which then test the strains and fax results directly to
DHQP for analysis. DHQP staff assess laboratory performance and send a
cumulative summary to each laboratory as well as to WHO. Accuracy of
testing has improved in areas where local or regional assistance is

   ?In Guatemala, pesticide residues in breast milk are reported to be
250 times the amounts allowed in cow's milk.?

   ?Nevertheless, industrial countries such as the US continue to
allow the export of toxic chemicals, including those which have been
banned for use in their own countries, to developing countries such as
Mexico and Guatemala. The International Journal of Occupational and
Environmental Health noted that between 1996 and 2000, the US exported
nearly 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides, an average rate of almost 16
tons per hour, identified as known or suspected carcinogens. They were
sent mainly to developing countries for agricultural use.

The International Labor Organization estimates that 65 to 90 percent
of the children working in Africa (80 million), Asia (152 million) and
Latin America (17 million) work in agriculture. They are often
continuously exposed to pesticides in the fields, from water, through
their clothing and in their homes.
The results of such practices have been well documented in Indigenous
agricultural communities such as the Yaqui Pueblos of Sonora, Mexico.
High levels of multiple pesticides have been found in women?s breast
milk and in the cord blood of newborn infants, resulting in increasing
levels of serious developmental problems and cancers.?

   ?The United States, Canada and Europe continue to allow the
production and exportation of various toxic chemicals, including some
prohibited in their own countries, to Mexico, Guatemala and other
Pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other man-made poisons are used
increasingly on crops where indigenous people work. Between 1996 and
2000, the United States exported 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides,
that is, 16 tons per hour, that were identified as suspected
carcinogens, according to the IITC.
Calling for intervention by the United Nations, IITC is pressing for
new policies that would prohibit countries from exporting toxins known
to be dangerous in their own countries. Also, IITC is calling on
governments to take into account the disproportionate impact of
pesticides and toxins on indigenous peoples.
IITC supported the North/South Indigenous Network Against Pesticides
and passed a resolution at the anniversary of the IITC hosted by the
Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations at Ermineskin Cree Nation in
Alberta in August of 2005.
Denouncing the North American Free Trade Agreement and other
multi-lateral trade agreements, IITC said the push for free and fast
trade has increased the abuse of indigenous peoples.

''The use of pesticides in agriculture contributes negatively to
climate change. The farmers have been encouraged by governments and
free trade agreements to over-fish, over-farm and use an excessive
amount of chemicals in order to over-produce goods,'' IITC said.
Persistent organic pollutants bioaccumulate in humans, disperse in the
environment and contaminate foods, especially dairy products, meats
and breast milk.

Among the threats is Lindane, a highly toxic POP. In North America,
Lindane is a treatment for agricultural food crops and used for head
lice and scabies.
Worldwide, indigenous people are suffering from mercury emissions,
industrial pollutants and other toxins as they work and live in areas
where their own governments have ignored their basic human rights,
according to IITC.?

   ?Poisonings in Guatemala. According to a report prepared for the
World Bank, there were 11,000?30,000 pesticide poisoning cases
annually in Guatamala, based on estimates of under-reporting of
pesticide illnesses. The majority of poisonings were due to the
insecticides, methomyl and methamidophos and the herbicide paraquat.?

?Of the 3 million annual air pollution deaths, 2.8 million are from
indoor pollution ? 2.2 million in developing countries. In Guatemala
indoor smoke from solid fuels causes 10,000 deaths a year. (Ramphele,
Our Planet, 2004, p.15).?

   ?Around 50% of people, almost all in developing countries, rely on
coal and biomass in the form of wood, dung and crop residues for
domestic energy. These materials are typically burnt in simple stoves
with very incomplete combustion. Consequently, women and young
children are exposed to high levels of indoor air pollution every day.

There is consistent evidence that indoor air pollution increases the
risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and of acute respiratory
infections in childhood, the most important cause of death among
children under 5 years of age in developing countries. Evidence also
exists of associations with low birth weight, increased infant and
perinatal mortality, pulmonary tuberculosis, nasopharyngeal and
laryngeal cancer, cataract, and, specifically in respect of the use of
coal, with lung cancer. Conflicting evidence exists with regard to
asthma. All studies are observational and very few have measured
exposure directly, while a substantial proportion have not dealt with
confounding. As a result, risk estimates are poorly quantified and may
be biased. Exposure to indoor air pollution may be responsible for
nearly 2 million excess deaths in developing countries and for some 4%
of the global burden of disease.?

   ?Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are the most common cause of
illness and death in children in the developing world. This review
focuses on outdoor air pollutants associated with pediatric ARI
mortality and morbidity. Studies were identified using MEDLINE and
other electronic databases. Four studies showed an increase in infant
mortality in relation to outdoor air pollution. Short-term follow-up
and time-series studies suggest that air pollutants act as risk
factors for respiratory infection. Air pollution exposure increases
the incidence of upper- and lower-respiratory infections in children.
Because complex pollution mixtures are present in the studied urban
areas, pollutant levels at which ARI risk would be expected to
increase cannot be determined. Children may be at greater risk, given
the poor environmental and nutritional conditions prevalent in
developing countries.?;jsessionid=GB3Cv58vZ1S0DKTRmLqzyXFPhgGXdWw7LJPbmwVR3NxkFThYKqvh!-1725731959!-949856144!8091!-1

I hope this has helped you out. Please request an Answer
Clarification, if anything is unclear, and allow me to respond, before
you rate.

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
Teratogens + birth defects + Guatemala
Birth defects + Guatemala + toxins
Congenital Birth defects + Guatemala
There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy