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Eight dead in fifteen days in Cañas – could arsenic-contaminated water be to blame?

By insidecostarica.com

Lactic acidosis is a condition marked by low pH in tissues and blood, occurs when arsenic elevates the lactate levels. Photo by insidecostarica.com

A 20-year-old woman who lost her two-year battle to live on Friday is the most recent victim of kidney failure in Cañas.

The woman is one of 400 cases of kidney failure reported by the Center for Integrated Health Care (CAIS) in Cañas. The city has seen a disproportionate increase in cases of the disease, and government authorities seem to be doing little to help.

The director of the dialysis unit said that the woman’s death brings to 8 the number who have died in the past 15 days alone, including a 23-year-old man.

Meanwhile, local health facilities are getting little help from the government to deal with the problem. Facilities are so cash-strapped they have even been forced to take up donations to put doors on the restrooms.

But residents are more concerned about what may be the source of the problem. They have been drinking arsenic-contaminated water for years.

The Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA), however, has attempted to dodge responsibility for the problem.

Last week, AyA recognized that the water supplies were indeed contaminated, but said that the situation is not the fault of the institution, nor is it responsible for the emergency health decree issued by President Chinchilla and the Ministry of Health last year.

Last month, Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court (Sala IV) issued a Writ of Amparo against President Laura Chinchilla and various government agencies because they have failed to do anything about the fact that various water supplies in Guanacaste and northern Costa Rica – some twenty communities – contain dangerous levels of arsenic, even though the President declared the situation an emergency more than a year ago.

Health authorities so far have been reluctant to blame the high number of residents suffering from kidney failure on arsenic contamination, although kidney failure is a common symptom of arsenic poisoning. That hasn’t stopped speculation amongst area residents that the source of the problem is contaminated water.


More Regional News

CAIS Assures that Arsenic in Water Is Not the Main Cause of Death in Patients

Dehydration, prolonged exposure to sunlight, low income and hereditary diseases are all factors contributing to why the number of deaths from kidney failure has risen to eight people in the last 15 days in Cañas.

Eight dead in fifteen days in Cañas – could arsenic-contaminated water be to blame?

A 20-year-old woman who lost her two-year battle to live on Friday is the most recent victim of kidney failure in Cañas.

Costa Rica is Out to Conquer the Chinese Tourist

As a source of tourists that has grown exponentially during the past few years, the Chinese market has become an enticing option for Costa Rica, whose government is aiming for a fivefold increase in the number of visitors from the Asian giant in the next three years.

Construction Noise Could be Bad for Business

In Costa Rica, the work day begins earlier than in many countries. Instead of 8 or 9 a.m., workers often get going as early as 6 a.m.

Survey Indicates that More Tourists Seek Luxury

In a recent survey conducted by VON including19 local hotels, results show that tourists arriving are willing to pay more money for nicer hotel rooms. A study conducted by the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH- Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles) confirms VON’s survey by indicating that 4 and 5 stars hotels reported the highest levels of occupancy.

Confronting School Bullies

"I hate school," recalls Carla with pain (not her real name), who was willing to tell us her story but requested that we protect her identity. "I was 13 years old, in seventh grade in high school and all of my classmates made fun of me because of my nationality," she related.

License Holders Pay Muni Up to Three Times More Than Before

Discord and controversy… This is what the new Liquor Law that is still being implemented has brought for the majority of local governments in the country, including the Municipality of Nicoya.

Legislators Approve Coastal Territories Law

By a majority of 45 against one vote, the Legislative Assembly approved the Coastal Territories Law Project 18.148, known as Tecocos, during the first debate on Tuesday, April 30. The law is designed to regulate land tenure, including in the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge.

Pictures and News of the Month

The Voice of Nosara brings you a brief recap of April stories you might have missed

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