The health and environmental conditions endured by the more than 30,000 residents of La Oroya in the central Peruvian Andes represent a clear violation of the human rights to health, life, food, and a clean and healthy environment. Since 1922, a nearby multi-metal smelter, currently operated by the Doe Run Corporation of Missouri, has been contaminating the urban environment surrounding the smelter with toxic emissions. A 1999 blood evaluation conducted in La Oroya by the Ministry of Health shows that 99.1% of 346 children tested have blood-lead levels indicative of lead poisoning, and that nearly 20% of these require immediate hospitalization. Because lead inhibits neurological development, the thousands of children poisoned by the smelter will likely be impaired for life. Despite these statistics, the company and government have failed to address the root cause of the problem -- poor environmental controls at the smelter.
Earthjustice and its siter organization AIDA have been fighting for the rights of these people.
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