Record Factory: Poisoning families with lead
In September 2007, the Record battery factory, located in Sitio del Niño, closed operations by order of the Ministry of Health. Yet, the factory contains lead slag that keeps contaminating everything that surrounds the complex.
According to the authorities, thousands of people are affected by lead poisoning.
Three years later, the government has declared an environmental emergency in the area, while neighbours and lead continue to live together.
The Record Factory used lead to produced lead to manufacture batteries. That lead has polluted the seven communities surrounding the factory. At the time, the owners of the company claimed that it had not been proven that the contamination was due to the presence of the factory in the area.
The Leadless Movement is one of the two organizations that fight for the rights of the neighbors, the bus stops have been painted in protest against the heritage of the Record. In the guts of the Record there are two galleys filled with lead slag. Due to its poor construction, every time it rains that lead leaks and penetrates the aquifers underground.
The Ministry of the Environment has closed the crops that surround the back and sides of the factory, declaring them unfit for consumption. Vice Minister Lina Pohl says that the ban is for 6 months but that they will surely be forced to prolong it due to the shortage of immediate solutions to deal with the problem.
Gabriela is 5 years old and plays with the earth that contains the same poison that runs through her veins and that lodges in her bones: lead. Her grandmother, Zoila, says that Gabriela suffers from constant migraines, nausea and vomiting and that she has difficulty concentrating and learning in school.
Germán Corado, of the Leadless Movement, carries out a census in the Nueva Candelaria Community, to specify the number of children under 10 years of age who do not attend school. The data is useful because until September, children not enrolled in school have not been tested for lead poisoning.
During the lactation process in mammals, lead is transmitted from mothers to newborns. This dog suckles its cubs in one of the areas closed by the Ministry of the Environment due to the high levels of lead found in soil, water and air.
The neighbors affirm that as a result of the contamination it is very frequent to find dead animals in the places near the factory, like this opossum.
The studies carried out by the Ministry of the Environment have determined that many of the wells in the communities are contaminated and their water is not suitable for human consumption. ANDA is supplying temporary tanks of water to provide drinking water to neighbours.
Benjamín, 4 and a half years old, has lived his short life in the land surrounding the factory. He is one of the faces of the tragedy. The analysis of his blood determined levels of lead well above the tolerable limits. In children, lead poisoning often causes learning problems.
Ernesto lives on the other side of the road, between the Record factory and Ciudad Versalles, in a less affected area. He is one of the children who have not yet had a blood test, but who lives within the radius of 1.5 km where the government declared the environmental emergency.
Lead contamination can cause irreversible neurological sequelae. The long illness of Eva Guadalupe began with a few nervous tics that she could not control, later she lost control over her left arm and began to drag her left leg. Now, Eva Guadalupe can not walk without the help of crutches and needs help from her mother to perform a multitude of daily actions.
There are moments in the day when Eva Guadalupe no longer wants to see anyone, and her character turns bitter. She locks herself in her room or asks her mother to leave the part of the house where she is at.