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NAFTA's Failure to Protect Public Health and the Environment: The Case of Metales y Derivados, Tijuana, Mexico

Simpson, A

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000339556.95492.27
Abstracts: ISEE 20th Annual Conference, Pasadena, California, October 12–16, 2008: Symposium Abstracts

Environmental Health Coalition, National City, CA, USA.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the organizations of Epidemiology. Affliate Societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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For more than 20 years, the U.S.-based New Frontier Trading Corporation recycled batteries in Tijuana. In 1986, operations moved from the La Gloria neighborhood to the Metales y Derivados site on the Mesa de Otay, above the community of Colonia Chilpancingo. In 1994, the Mexican government permanently shut down Metales y Derivados. The owner fled across the border to San Diego after a warrant was issued for his arrest for alleged environmental crimes. He left behind 7,000 metric tons of lead slag, along with other hazardous waste. No cleanup was proposed by the owner, or mandated by the U.S. or Mexican government. Residents of Colonia Chilpancingo and the Environmental Health Coalition began organizing and took actions including filing a citizen's petition with the North American Free Trade Agreement's Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to address the urgent need for cleanup of the toxic site. After much advocacy, the site is now being cleaned up, with independent community monitoring, representing a binational environmental and public health victory.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.