Large amounts of synthetic pesticides are used in Guatemala to increase the production on nontraditional crops. Almolonga, a township in the western highlands, produces vegetables for markets in Mexico and Central America. Almolongueños make intensive use of limited cultivable land and abundant water resources, as well as sizable amounts of synthetic pesticides. Among Almolongueños, congenital malformations, cancer, anemia, and respiratory infections await substantiated links to exposure to pesticides. The prevalence of infectious and parasitic diseases and nutritional deficiencies--the dominant health concerns--may be heightened by excessive use of pesticides. Public-health initiatives involve the rational use of pesticides or their elimination.
Keywords: agriculture, Almolonga, Guatemala, health, pesticides.
Dr. ARBONA is a geographer and works as an epidemiologist with the Texas Department of Health.
To contact the author: Dr. Sonia I. Arbona
HIV/STD Epidemiology Division
Texas Department of Health
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756
Phone: (512) 490.2545, (512) 490.2536 fax