Laura Dvorak 5:47 p.m., Dec. 6
Border Health: Live Animals; Toxic Batteries; #1 and #2 Most Obese
HILDAGO (El Sol de Hidalgo, 6/16/11) - Animals sold in flea markets, on the street or directly in public places may represent a serious health problem, said Dr. Ana Maria Tavares, Assistant State Secretary of Health. She stressed birds, dogs, cats and various pets sold without veterinary control, can transmit toxic viruses and diseases such as rabies, among others.
MEXICO DF (El Sol de Mexico, Carlos Lara, 6/14/11) - An increase in the export of hazardous lead batteries from the United States to Mexico causes a significant rise in lead exposure. As a result, it affects public health. According to a report entitled "Exporting Risk: Shipment of Used Lead Batteries from the US to Mexico: Taking advantage of the Weakness of Environmental Protection Rules and the Health of Workers" carried out by two environmental, non-governmental organizations, Occupational Knowledge International of the US and Mexico Common Borders. In the study, they quantified, for the first time, the scope of the export of lead batteries and details differences between the two countries on product recycling emissions and regulations on the workers’ health protection. Perry Gottesfeld, Executive Director of Occupational Knowledge International, said, "The report raises serious concerns about the impact of US battery exports poisoning the border with lead". For these reasons, he said that it should be noted, "Both Governments have allowed the export of US batteries to Mexican companies with no capacity to regulate or technology required for safe recycling. Also documented are major negative impacts on health arising from lead exposure". The report states since the US made more stringent air environment standards in 2008, it observed a significant increase in the export of lead to Mexico in batteries. Mexico has less stringent standards on labor and environmental safety, making it more profitable to send the batteries to Mexico for recycling. For its part, Marisa Jacott, Director of Common Borders, added, "For the first time we are aware of the magnitude of these exports. They contribute the generation of lead emissions that pollute communities and place the health of workers at risk because the Mexican Government has failed to create real protection of the environment and health standards". Many batteries come from cars and trucks, but they are also used in a wide range of items including cell phones, solar systems, golf carts and lifts. In the report, they recognize Governments are making major initiatives to stop the export of e-waste to developing countries including computers, televisions, cell phones and other electronic devices; and recycling causes significant pollution and negative effects on health and should be taken into account. "While government authorities have focused on damage associated with recycling electronic waste, it seems they are not aware the recycling of lead batteries and that it often has major negative impacts on health and the environment", said Gottesfeld. This report was conducted between November 2010 and May 2011 by assessing recycling practices in Mexico and the United States.
MEXICO DF (El Sol de Tijuana) - Mexico is obliged to allocate the equivalent of another 3% of its gross domestic product today to address diseases associated with obesity, according to estimates by the Ministry of Health. According to studies of the Pan American Health Organization, the Aztec nation is #2 in the number of obese adults in proportion to its population, and #1 for children with obesity in the world. Non-communicable diseases have high costs to the country, in terms of human lives and in fiscal, macroeconomic and development matters, say Fernando Álvarez del Río, Economic Analysis unit expert in the Ministry of Health. Currently the country allocates 15% of health expenses in the prevention and control of excess body weight and related conditions, said Álvarez del Río. This percentage will continue to grow in coming years, he warns, so we urgently need methods to promote healthier lifestyles, as well as early detection of diseases linked to being overweight.