A study carried out by the Institute of Nuclear Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) led by Dr. Epifanio Cruz Zaragoza highlights this disaster.
The pollutant element found in water, soil and earth is Cesium-137. Although Mexico does not have atomic weapons and only has two nuclear power plants (for electrical energy), it is suffering the consequences of the tests carried out by the US because "meteorological events homogenize the environment of the American Continent," Zaragoza explained.
When the territory is contaminated with radioactive material, food is impregnated with ionizing radiation, for example "some common spices such as parsley, sesame, walnut, nutmeg, oregano, onion, piquín pepper and cinnamon".
The study states thatSince the first detonation of an atomic bomb in the world, there has been a contaminating radioactive presence in Mexico.
That first detonation, called Trinity, was made by the United States in July 1945 in the Alamogordo desert, New Mexico, 140 kilometers from the border with Mexico, where the populous Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, is located on the Mexican side.
Then many more tests would follow until the last one carried out in 1992. The United States is the country that has carried out the most nuclear tests in the world: it officially has 1,054.
Added to the US nuclear tests are 104 reactors, of which 9 are near the Mexican border.
For this reason, the UNAM study indicates thatthe other river that both nations share is also a source of pollution. It is the Rio Grande, as Mexicans call it, or Rio Grande, as Americans know it. This cause, which in part of its journey becomes the physical border of both nations, "carries large amounts of poisonous, toxic chemicals and even radioactive pollutants," Cruz Zaragoza told Conacyt.
Consequences for human health
Researcher David Lizcano Cabrera, from the National Institute for Nuclear Research (ININ), stated in an interview thatcare must be taken that radioactive isotopes are not ingested, as they may never leave the body. Uranium-235, radium-226, and strontium are deposited in bones. Iodine-125 and iodine-131 lodge in the thyroid. Mercury, in the liver.
With regard to Cesium-137, which was found in food, the researcher assigned to the Radiological Safety Management and the Radioactive Waste Department, Lizcano Cabrera, explains that this element can be easily disposed of by the body, "but the problem is not that is going to lodge in the body, but the radiation that it emits. It often occurs in large quantities and is high risk because it does not leave marks. The energy passes through the body, causes some damage and goes into the air. Also, if breathed in, it is chemically toxic. It is an artificial element ”. Lizcano also affirms that people who ingest the radioactive material, in the long term, can get cancer.
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