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Forums  > Areas > Jalisco's Lake Chapala Region


Bill

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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Has anyone studied the health effects as Lake Chapal dies? I would very much like to know if Mexico or anyone else has studied the health of this area.<p>Here is what has happened to the Aral Sea, which is actually a lake, and is also a lake that is dying. As the lake continues to dry up Doctors Without Borders (also known as MSF)have found epidemic levels of tuberculosis and anemia, and children suffering kidney, liver and respiratory diseases, cancers, immunological and neurological problems, and more and more birth defects.<p>The World Health Organization has reported infectious diseases are increasing (whereby the tuberculosis (TB) situation as quoted by WHO, is the worst in all of Europe and the former Soviet Union (FSU)) ; cholera and typhoid epidemics have broken out in neighboring regions.<p>Acute respiratory infections (ARI) and diarrheal diseases are the number one and two causes of morbidity and mortality among children, whereby ARI accounts for almost half of all children's deaths. <p>Kidney diseases, various cancers and birth defects all show alarming increases, way out of demographic considerations. <p>The region has the highest level of anemia, in terms of prevalence and severity in the world, reducing the general population ability to fight infection and high death rates among expecting mothers due to complications and haemorrhage.<p>If anyone knows of any online information please post a URL.



John Bragg

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #2 of 11 (4240 views)

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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So far I have been unable to put my hands on the paper referring directly to this problem. This afternoon I met with Professor Gomez-Reyna of the University of Guadalajara who is preparing a technical action plan for Amigos del Lago. He has read the study relating to Lake Aral and states that there are similarities but that the primary source of chemical pollutants at Lake Aral are from agriculture (fertizers and pesticides inluding DDT) and at Lake Chapala the primary source is industrial. Because of the intensive fertilzation programs and the tremendous difference in size of Lake Aral the scale of their problem is much more severe. His evaluation is that there is a potential problem but it will not be as severe.


Bill

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #3 of 11 (4240 views)

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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The farmers along the Lerma use fertilizers and also used DDT, even though DDT is banned almost worldwide. The Lerma feed into Lake Chapala so I would assume that the Lake must have those chemicals in it and that because our lake is smaller than Lake Aral we possibly hige concetrations. <p>I would surmise that we have industrial pollutants and also pollutants from the farmers as they are one of the main reasons the lake does not get that much water from the river, except when they do a scheduled release and then we get a massive amount.<p>What does Professor Gomez-Reyna think of the typhoid outbreak we have had this year? Has there ever been a study done on the number of birth defects in this area?


John Bragg

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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This is outside Professor Gomez-Reyna's field, I suggest you contact the Mexican Dept of Health for Typhoid statistics.
John


oracledba

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #5 of 11 (4240 views)

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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This strikes me as a good example of "post hoc, propter hoc" logic - "if event a happened before event b, then event a must have caused event b".<p>Just what was it in the problems with the Aral Sea that caused all of the health problems among people who live close to it? Or were these problems conincidental but unrelated, perhaps caused by such factors as poor sanitation, unavailability of competent health care, malnutrition, etc., in the area?<p>And, even if the Artal Sea's deterioration caused the health problems, are these same factors present in lake Chapala, and the people living close to it? We cannot know without knowing spicifics about the factors in the first place.


John

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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Well said!
John


Jim Bentein

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #7 of 11 (4241 views)

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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Well said but, as one of those pesky journalists, I'm willing to lodge a bet the results would not be good for one's health. I'm also almost certain the Mexican authorities haven't done a thorough analysis of what the consequences would be. Incidentally, lakes have "disappeared" before in Mexico. Been to Mexico City lately? The health implications there were not good.


John Bragg

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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As far as I can tell no one has actually taken the study to the point of the Lake drying up totally (Lake Aral is far from being totally dried up) The apparent problems arise from several factors
1. All of the contaminants that are concentrated in the sedimenatry deposits on the bottom of the lake dry up and are subject to being carried in the air during dust storms. Fortunately many of the biological contaminants die when the lake bottom dries up, but those that don't and the chemical and heavy metal pollutants can be adsorbed by wildlife, livestock and the human population.
2. Septic and chemical runoff that pass into any body of water may be so diluted that it poses a minimal threat to health, but as the body of water becomes smaller the concentration of the pollutants increases, often to dangerous levels.
As the lake shore retreats, farmers using this newly exposed land, cultivate this poisoned soil and their land tilling stirs up more dust.
This is just one reason why it is so important to refill this lake with water.
John


keith

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #9 of 11 (4244 views)

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doesn't this all come down to

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how poluted is the soil that used to be at the bottom of the lake? Once it dries up it will start blowing around, especially if it gets plowed and used for agriculture.


John Bragg

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #10 of 11 (4243 views)

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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Mexican government and academic agencies are familiar with the Lake Aral studies and have conducted studies of their own regarding the possibility of the total dessication of Lake Chapala. Although the possible impact on the environment and good health should not be taken lightly, differences in pollution levels, population density and other similar factors seem to indicate that if Lake Chapala were to dry up at some time in the future the results would not be as severe as those experienced at Lake Aral.
John


Bill

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #11 of 11 (4242 views)

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Health Concerns As Lake Chapala Dies

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This is good to hear that the impact would not be as "bad". <p>> have conducted studies of their own <p>Can you tell me who has done the studies that you speak of and have they published any results of these studies?<p>Thanks for your information.
 
 
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