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Environmental Justice in Latin AmericaProblems, Promise, and Practice$
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David V. Carruthers

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262033725

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262033725.001.0001

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Environmental Justice in Mexico: The Peñoles Case

Environmental Justice in Mexico: The Peñoles Case

(p.161) 7 Environmental Justice in Mexico: The Peñoles Case
Environmental Justice in Latin America

Jordi Díez

Reyes Rodríguez

The MIT Press

This chapter reveals that many social and legal restrictions act as a hindrance to cultural movements for environmental justice and obstruct collective efforts in this area, and focuses on these issues through the Peñoles case in Mexico. The Peñoles case involved a large number of children in the Northern Mexican city of Torreón, Coahuila, who were poisoned by the release of lead from an ore smelter of Met-Mex Peñoles. The children showed degenerating metabolic, psychometric, and neurological symptoms, along with diminished IQ. The chapter examines why people in Mexico are unable to mobilize movements on environmental justice despite the Peñoles disaster. An agreement signed between the municipal government of Torreón and the management of the company to reduce heavy metal emissions into the air could not be implemented. In 1996, the Environmental Protection Office and the company also signed an agreement to implement various measures for minimizing heavy metal emissions within a designated time.

Keywords:   Torreón, neurological systems, Mexico, heavy metals, municipal government

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