Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/12/2014 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Chronic kidney disease kills thousands, but nobody knows why.

A terrible disease with an unknown cause is stalking the sugarcane workers of Latin America. Known as chronic kidney disease, it kills people daily, and thousands have died in just the past few years. Major sugar producers in the region appear to have little interest in doing anything about it.

Burned for profits: Workers are dying, but those who employ them seem not to care.

Burned for profits: Workers are dying, but those who employ them seem not to care.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/12/2014 (6 months ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: sugar cane, workers, chronic kidney disease, ckd, mystery, reason, profits


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A disease known as chronic kidney disease (CKD) is killing cane workers in Central America. The disease is also prominent in Sri Lanka and India. Although CKD has always been around, it seems to be worsening in these areas, over the past 20 years.

In parts of Nicaragua and El Salvador, the disease is a way of life, and workers on the cane plantations understand that their days are numbered. One community in Nicaragua has been renamed from "La Isla" to "La Isla de las Viudas" or, the Island of the Widows because so many men from the community have died from CKD.

Let us pray for the workers of the world who deliver so much bounty to us. May they prosper in safety.

A report in The Verge has detailed the severity of the situation and provided several images which you can see here.

A cane worker who may now be dead. This worker was in the end stages of kidney failure when his imag

A cane worker who may now be dead. This worker was in the end stages of kidney failure when his image was captured by photographer Ed Kashi.


The cause of the CKD outbreak is unknown, however it seems to be related to sugar cane production in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Many people in these areas are seriously impoverished and they take the work despite the danger because they have virtually no other choice. It is a foregone conclusion that many men who work in the cane fields will die sooner.

Many possible causes have been suggested, such as chronic dehydration of the workers. However, ample water has been provided by the farms that employ them, and dehydration has always been a risk factor in the cane fields since the colonization of the region 500 years ago. Only in the last two decades has CKD emerged as a leading killer.

Other suggestions point to fertilizers and pesticides which contain chemicals that can be harmful in high doses. While workers only ever come into contact with trace quantities of these chemicals, and those quantities are well below safety guidelines, it is possible that the constant exposure could make up for the low-grade dosages and cause CKD.

However, these theories are only speculation. The causes could have more to do with lifestyle. People in the region appear to have a higher risk of diabetes, and workers often consume greater quantities of sugar than others, because chewing on bits of cane while working can be refreshing.

However, the corporate giants that benefit the most from the region's cane production appear entirely disinterested in addressing the problem. Protests have failed to prompt much response from the corporate entities in the region and farmers ultimately have no choice if they want to work.

The funeral industry is booming, however, a grim fringe benefit of a massive human tragedy.

The casket business is booming as funerals happen daily. Image: Ed Kashi

The casket business is booming as funerals happen daily. Image: Ed Kashi


Those dying in Central America are not the elderly either. According to The Verge, an increasing number of young, otherwise healthy people are falling victim to the disease. The disease kills silently, often reducing a person's kidney function below 10 percent before symptoms appear.

Locals can purchase home dialysis machines, but sanitation and quality remain an issue. Eventually, everyone with the disease dies of it, dialysis or not.

The world benefits tremendously from the labor of these people. Just because they may live thousands of miles away from the end use of their products, or because they are poor, doesn't mean their lives have any less value to us. The world, which benefits from their labor has a sacred obligation to ensure their health. We must demand that sugar suppliers permit studies of their crops and practices, and that healthcare is provided for the people whose literal sacrifice delivers to them so much in profits.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Americas

Is the Islamic State - In Mexico? Officials deny 'car bombing' rumors Watch

Image of While it's nightmarishly plausible - and there have been warnings from the international community to the United States as such, the Department of Homeland Security has denied claims on from a watchdog group that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has militants stationed in Juarez, Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it's nightmarishly plausible - and there have been warnings from the international community to the United States as such, the Department of Homeland Security has denied claims on from a watchdog group that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has ... continue reading


Deadly silence: 92,000 Columbians remain missing Watch

Image of Around 4,000 graves have been discovered and 5,000 bodies found, following the confessions of scores of paramilitary warlords.

By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation

More than 92,000 Colombians have disappeared during 50 years of war and at the hands of drug gangs, and the government needs to step up efforts to find missing people, the Red Cross said. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every day nine people are reported missing ... continue reading


GOING DIGITAL: Ecuador plans digital currency Watch

Image of Some believe that Ecuador's new digital currency will eventually lead to the nation's abandonment of paper and coin currency altogether - i.e., the United States dollar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a bold move into the 21st Century, the South American nation of Ecuador is now planning digital currency. Some believe this will eventually lead to the nation's abandonment of paper and coin currency altogether - i.e., the United States dollar. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


California Governor: 'You're all welcome,' even illegal immigrants Watch

Image of California Governor Jerry Brown meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

California Governor Jerry Brown in a speech this week declared that all Mexicans, including illegal immigrants, are welcome in California. While introducing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who said America is "the other Mexico," Brown "spoke about the ... continue reading


Argentine president may take drastic measures to deal with debt Watch

Image of Argentinian President Cristina Fernández praised her nation's financial system as being

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Argentinian President Cristina Fernández praised her nation's financial system as being "one of the most solid in the world" during a speech at the Buenos Aires stock exchange last week. Many disagree, saying that they fear the mercurial president may go to ... continue reading


GRISLY HARVEST: Mexican children, adults murdered for their organs Watch

Image of Victims targeted by organ harvesters usually range in age from seven to 10 years while younger children are often kidnapped for adoption.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The already rampant criminal network in Mexico and South America, in addition to dealing drugs, has taken to abducting children and adults in order to murder then and harvest their vital organs. The lucrative, underground business of livers, lungs and eyes to ... continue reading


MASSIVE ACID SPILL: Mexico closes 88 schools after 10 million gallons of acid spills from copper mine Watch

Image of Officials are working to de-acidify the two rivers by adding heaps of calcium to the water. Acid levels are dropping, Mexico's National Water Commission said, but the water is still not totally safe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ecological disaster of momentous proportion is unfolding near the U.S. - Mexico border after a massive acid spill from a copper mine has found its way into waterways. Up to 5,000 school children will be kept out of 88 schools for a week as 800,000 people ... continue reading


The new favorite weapon of the drug cartels has arrived in America -- and it will shock you Watch

Image of Mexican soldiers with hundreds of bricks of marijuana, which is about to be burned.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mexican drug cartels are utilizing a deadly military weapon to keep local residents in terror and protect drug stockpiles. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Authorities on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border say that the cartels are using the grenades. Four live ... continue reading


THREE DEAD: relatives of Pope Francis die in traffic accident in Argentina Watch

Image of According to newspaper accounts, the 38-year-old nephew of the Pope was driving the family's Chevrolet when he collided with an agricultural truck bearing corn in Cordoba.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three members of Pope Francis' extended family, including two young grand-nephews, have died in a traffic accident. The Pope's nephew, Horacio Bergoglio Emanuel was critically injured in crash. Emanuel's wife, Valeria Carmona, and their two children, ... continue reading


Priest jailed in El Salvador for gang rehabilitation! Watch

Image of Father Antonio Rodriguez a Spanish Passionist also known as Padre Tono, was arrested for bringing cell phones to gang members held inside prison.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Father Antonio Rodriguez, a Spanish Passionist, will remain in jail after a judge in El Salvador ruled that he was guilty of various crimes regarding gang activities. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rodriguez, also known as Padre Tono, is well known for ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter