Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/12/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Americas

SISTERS of the HOLY VESTMENTS - Vestments to be worn by Pope Francis during Ecuador visit made by these Carmelite nuns Watch

Image of Pope Francis will be in Ecuador July 6-7 as part of a trip to South America July 5-13. He will also visit Bolivia and Paraguay.

By Maria Ximena Rondon, CNA/EWTN News

Within the walls of the convent in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, the Carmelite nuns are busy making liturgical cloths and the vestments for Pope Francis' July 6-7 visit to the country. Quito, Ecuador (CNA/EWTN News) - "For me it is a great grace because it ... continue reading


Will Pope Francis chew coca leaves on his forthcoming trip to Bolivia? Watch

Image of The coca leaf, whose daily use and cultural importance in the Andes region rivals that of coffee in the United States, is embroiled in controversy in the international community because of its use as the main ingredient in the addictive drug, cocaine.

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis might chew coca leaves - or maybe sip coca tea - during his visit to Bolivia next week, the Vatican has said. Vatican City (CNA) - Bolivian Culture Minister Marko Machicao told local media that Francis had asked to chew coca leaves in the country, one of ... continue reading


Caribbean nations in grip of worst drought in five years Watch

Image of In South America, Brazil has been struggling with its own severe drought. Reservoirs serving the metropolis of Sao Paulo have been drained.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia, to Cuba to Puerto Rico, the Caribbean is suffering from what is described as a "bone-dry" summer. Crops are withering and dying in the worst drought to hit the region in five years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Modern man marvels at Inka Road -- 500-years-old, still standing - built without the wheel Watch

Image of Running through areas some 16,000 feet high, the road cuts through prairies, forests, deserts, valleys and mountains.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Modern man has a lot to learn from the ancient Incas. As a testament to their engineering and water management skills, the great Inka Road - more than 500 years old, and criss-crossing through six nations of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina ... continue reading


Mexico's Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriages in all 31 states Watch

Image of Same-sex couples wishing to marry are able to obtain injunctions against the laws limiting marriages to heterosexuals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Declaring the definition of marriage as only the union of a man and a woman as discriminatory and unconstitutional, Mexico's Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage for all 31 states. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Procreation" was not a purpose for ... continue reading


Aboriginal women in Canada more likely to fall prey to domestic violence, murder Watch

Image of The federal police force said that last year 1,017 aboriginal women had been murdered between 1980 and 2012, while another 108 were missing under suspicious circumstances.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Canada's aboriginal women are frequently marginalized and under-represented in the Great White North. Tragically, the one thing that these women are over represented in is Canada's homicide rate. While comprising only 4.3 percent of the female population, ... continue reading


Church confirms that demons are running loose in Mexico, prompting a radical exorcism Watch

Image of In May the nation of Mexico was exorcised in an effort to save the country from violence and anarchy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The high level of violence and crime in Mexico, as well as the government corruption and ability of drug cartels to run portions of the country with immunity have led some senior officials in the Catholic Church to fear that the country is totally at the mercy of ... continue reading


Meet the 'Children of the Moon': Panama villages' albinos make up 10 percent of population Watch

Image of [Photo by: Reuters]

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mythologically believed to be descendants of the sun, as its "grandchildren," albinos must be kept away from the sun as it can cause them a painful, slow death. With sensitive skin and eyes, they are physically endangered by the sun. Albino children only get to ... continue reading


El Salvador teen MS-13 gangsters 'barbarically' rape 16-year-old girl in NYC Watch

Image of Pictured: Jose Cornejo, 17 (Suffolk County DA)

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Held without bail and charged as adults with rape, assault, sexual abuse, robbery and other crimes, three teenagers from the MS-13 gang plead "not guilty." Bryan Larios, 18, Joel Escobar, 17, and Jose Cornejo, 17, reportedly raped a 16-year-old girl after threatening ... continue reading


DEFENDING REPUTATION: Red Cross defends work in Haiti after expose says group built only six houses Watch

Image of The American Red Cross dismissed the report as lacking in

By Stella Dawson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Red Cross has defended its work in Haiti following a devastating earthquake five years ago after a media investigation found it had only built six houses despite raising nearly half a billion dollars in donations. WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - ... 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, Genesis 27:1-5, 15-29
1 When Isaac had grown old, and his eyes were so weak ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 135:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! Praise the name of Yahweh, you who serve ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:14-17
14 Then John's disciples came to him and said, 'Why ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 4th, 2015 Image

St. Elizabeth of Portugal
July 4: Elizabeth was a Spanish princess who was given in marriage to ... 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