Genetic Damages on the Border of Ecuador by the Fumigations of Plan Colombia - Part Two

Genetic Damages on the Border of Ecuador by the Fumigations of Plan Colombia - Part Two

By Adolfo Maldonado

The comparison of graphs 1 and 2 can give us an idea of ​​the differences found between the group studied at the border, both from Ecuador and Colombia, together with the control groups from both the Quito laboratory and the communities 80 km away. from the border.

Graphs 3 and 4 show the distribution of the different types of kites in each of the groups of women on both sides of the border, visualizing in all of them the increase in type C. Graph 5 shows that age does not influence the appearance of the different types of kite.

Table 2 shows the data of the control group in the Amazon, 25 women at 80 km. away from the fumigated area of ​​the study. The differences with respect to the affected group are notable.

Control groupTOBCDANDAGE
Subtotal Group C.67.925.16.9300

The number of cells with genetic damage (only C) in the control group from the Amazon reaches an average of 6.9%, that is, less than double the data considered normal by the Quito laboratory (4% see graph 1) . In this group, the extreme values ​​of the samples ranged between the complete absence and 29% of damaged cells, that is, between normality and a ceiling of 7 times more than expected according to the Quito laboratory.

The values ​​were distributed as follows (Table 2): less than 4% with damaged cells, that is, 44% of the women presented normality coinciding with that of Quito; Between 4 and 8%, that is, up to twice what was expected, they presented 32%, up to 4 times above the expected damage, they presented 20% of the cells and only 4% of the women presented the value of 29% of cells. damaged equivalent to 7 times what is expected.

In graphs 6 and 7 all the kites of the control group (25) are represented and the high normality values ​​reached by this group can be appreciated.

The laboratory data for the control group from Quito differ from those found in the Amazon. While in the former, abnormal cells with damage considered pathological should not exceed 4%, in the Amazon control group an average of 7% is reached. However, the average found in the group affected by the fumigations present amounts significantly higher than those of the control group in the Amazon. From 7% in the control group to 36% of the affected group, we would be talking about 5 times more damage in the border region that received the impact of the fumigations, this difference is significant and allows us to affirm the following conclusions.

8. Conclusions

All (100%) of the women studied who received the impact of the fumigations and suffered symptoms of intoxication, present genetic lesions in 36% of their cells.

The genetic damage in these women is 800% higher than the control group established by the Quito laboratory. And 500% higher than the damage found in a population of similar characteristics in the Amazon Region, 80 km away. from the study area.

The population studied that received the impacts of the fumigations had been affected with at least one previous fumigation 9 months before, so it cannot be determined if the injuries produced are the effect of the impact received in the last fumigations or as a result of the accumulation of previous fumigations.

However, it can be affirmed that subjecting the population to more fumigations may increase the risk of cellular damage and that, once permanent, the cases of cancer, mutations and important embryonic alterations increase that give rise among other possibilities to the increase of the number of abortions in the area.


[1] Tropicalist doctor member of Acción Ecológica, member of the CIF (Inter-institutional Committee against Fumigations made up of: Ecological Action, Creative Action, Latin American Assembly for Human Rights-ALDHU, American Association of Jurists, Ecumenical Commission of Human Rights-CEDHU, Andean Service Committee-CAS, Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation-INREDH, Network Against the Use of Pesticides in Latin America -RAPAL-Ecuador, Peace and Justice Service -SERPAJ-Ecuador,) appointed as Expert by the Ombudsman's Office of Ecuador within the investigative file No. 9067-DAP-2002 established "to determine the impacts on Ecuador of the fumigations carried out in the Putumayo area within the Plan Colombia."
[2] Nivia, Elsa. effects of fumigations. Nov 2003
[3] US Embassy in Colombia. 2001. Summary Counternarcotics in Putumayo.
[4] ONIC, PCN, FENSUAGRO-CUT 2002. Evaluation of fumigations in Colombia. Destruction of rural areas by Plan Colombia. Bogota August 2002
[5] Joint Report on the Seminar-Workshop "Eradication of illicit crops" Bogotá-Colombia. February 13-15, 2002. Page 11
[6] Based on the Elsa Nivia paper cited above.
[7] Spitzer, Skip. 07/17/2002. Do we trust biotechnology?
[8] DDT means dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane.
[9] In June 1954 Time magazine published this blurb.
[10] Giuliano, Jackie. Healing Our World clumn, Environment News Service website, 1999, on September 16, 2001.
[11] DDT Fact Sheet, US Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, September 1995, html of September 25, 2001.
[12] DBCP means 1,2-dibromo-3 chloropropane
[13] Transcript of "Trade Secrets: A Moyers Report", Public Broadcasting Service,
[14] Circle of Poison: Impact of U.S. pesticides on Third World workers, hearing before the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, United States Senate, 102nd Congress, first session, June 5, 1991.
[15] Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS), "Top Seveng Agrochemical Companies in 2000", May 23, 2001.
[16] Feldman, Jay. NCAMP / Beyond Pesticides, "Why Alternatives to Herbicides Should Be Used, on Earth Day and Everyday," Boulder Weekly, August 27, 1998.
[17] Feldman, Jay. Op. Cit.
[18] Pesticide Action Network North America at
[19] Jeyaratnam, J. "Acute Pesticide Poisoning: A Major Global Health Problem", World Health Statistics Quarterly, 43 (3): 139-144, 1990.
[20] TIME. The US defends Glyphosate. August 17/2001. Cited by Mery Constanza García, in "Plan Colombia: aerial fumigations are an attack on the public and environmental health of Colombians. (Professor at the National University School of Nursing. Expert in public health. Coordinator of academic, research and extension projects in promotion and prevention for health and a dignified life.)
[21] Sara Ordóñez. Statement being Minister of Health in Popular Action No. 01-022, filed by Claudia Sampedro and others, in the Administrative Court of Cundinamarca, folios 1174 to 1178
[22] Herbicide fact sheet: Gliyphosate (Roundup) Journal of Pesticide Reform. Fall 1998, updated October 2000.
[23] Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS), "Monsanto Agrees to Change Ads and EPA Fines Northrup King", January 10, 1997.
[24] Tokar, Brian. October 2003. Monsanto: A Profile of Corporate Arrogance .. Brian Tokar is the author of "Earth for Sale" (Earth for Sale, South End Press, 1997) The Green Alternative (Revised Edition, New Society Publishers, 1992 ), and editor of Redesigning Life? (Redesigning Life? A new collection on the politics of Biotechnology, Zed Books, 2001.)
He is a member of the faculty and Director of the Biotechnology Project at the Institute for Social Ecology in Plainfield, Vermont, USA. Tokar received the 1999 Project Censored Award for Monsanto's historical research originally published in The Ecologist, Vol. 28, No. 5 Sept / Oct. 1998
[25] Carolyn Cox, "Glyphosate Fact Sheet," Journal of Pesticide Reform, Volume 11, No. 2, Spring 1991.
[26] Ibid. See also Joseph Mendelson, "Roundup: The World’s Biggest-Selling Herbicide," The Ecologist Vol. 28, No. 5, Sept./Oct. 1998, pp. 270-275.
[27] Carolyn Cox, "Glyphosate, Part 2: Human Exposure and Ecological Effects," Journal of Pesticide Reform, Volume 15, No. 4, Fall 1995.
[28] Sylvia Knight, "Glyphosate, Roundup and Other Herbicides - An Annotated Bibliography," Vermont Citizens ’Forest Roundtable, January 1996.
[29] Valle del Cauca Departmental Comptroller's Office, 1995. Report on the state of natural resources and the environment in Valle del Cauca. Natural Resources and Environment Division. Quoted by
Molina E.J. et col. in the Case Study on the Conventional and Agroecological Management of Sugarcane Cultivation in Valle del Cauca, Colombia.
[30] Piedad Córdoba (Senator of the Republic. President of the Senate Human Rights Commission. Co-director of the Liberal Party) Plan Colombia: the escalation of the social and armed conflict. Ecuador Debate n ° 49
[32] Ballantyne, B. Et. Col. General and Applied Toxycology. Stockton Press, New York, 1994.
[33] Arbucle, T. (2001) An exploratory Analysis of the Effects of Pesticide Exposure on the Risk of Spontaneous Abortion in an Ontario Farm Population Env. Health Perspectives, vol. 109 No. 8.
[34] Chernaik, Mark L. October 29, 2003. Amicus Curiae to the Council of State addressed to Judge Manuel Santiago Urueta on the case with reference 25000-23-25-000-2001-00022-02.
[35] The laboratory studies were carried out in the Molecular Genetics and Human Cytogenetics Laboratory, in the Department of Biological Sciences, Genetics Unit, Faculty of Medicine of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador in Quito. Under the responsibility of Dr. Cesar Paz y Miño. For each blood sample, two tests were done, the comet and the Cytogenetics
[36] Singh NP, McCoy MT, Tice RR, Schneider EL. 1988. A simple technique for quantitation of low levels of DNA damage in individual cells. Exp Cell Res 175: 84-191.
[37] Carlos Alvarez-Moya, Anne Santerre-Lucas, Guillermo Zúñiga-González, Eduardo Padilla-Camberos, and Alfredo Feria-Velasco. A Model for the Detection of Damaged DNA in Diseased Cells and Agave Tequilana Weber Cells Exposed to Glyphosate. Mexican Journal of Phytopathology, pp. 78-83. Vol. 19, 2001 Vol. 19-1 (January-June)
[38] Paz y Miño, C. "Cytogenetic monitoring in an Ecuadorian population occupationally exposed to pesticides". Rev. Fac.Cs.Med. Vol 25, n ° 1, page 15, April 2000. Quito, Ecuador.

* By Adolfo Maldonado
For Dr. Claudio Mueckay
Ecuadorian Ombudsman
Tropicalist doctor member of Acción Ecológica, member of the CIF (Interinstitutional Committee against Fumigations) designated as Expert by the Ecuadorian Ombudsman's Office within the investigative file No. 9067-DAP-2002 established? To determine the impacts in Ecuador, of the fumigations carried out in the Putumayo area within Plan Colombia?

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