Indigenous Ecuadorans near petroleum production suffer more of cancer

Jul 21, 1999 02:00 AM

Opponents of oil and gas exploration in the Amazon basin of South America have a new weapon with which to fight - a recently released medical study purporting to show that indigenous Ecuadorans who live in areas of petroleum production suffer a higher incidence of cancer than other groups.
The results of the study, conducted by a medical team from the Social Pastoral Department of the Vicariate of Aguarico, indicate that the population of the petroleum zone faces a cancer risk three times higher than in other parts of the country. According to the study, cancer of the larynx is 30 times more prevalent in the zone than elsewhere in Ecuador, while cancer of the bile ducts is 18 times higher, that of the liver and skin is 15 times higher and stomach cancer is five times more frequent.
Environmentalists say the investigation of the cancer rate supports allegations made by local activists for the past five years that contamination resulting from oil and gas drilling is affecting the entire Ecuadorian Amazon.

Source: IINX via Iinoil
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