Health officials received senators

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The meeting took place on Tuesday, following a request for reports from the Senate of Cambiemos on cancer and its possible relationship with agrochemicals. This request was presented by the senator of Gualeguaychú Nicolás Mattiauda, more than a month ago, in the context of the judicial case for the distances of fumigations from rural schools.

“It seemed important to me to generate the proof so that, as finally happened, if another amparo application was presented, the Justice has scientific data to fail, ” the senator explained to ElDía, after meeting with his peers Beltrán Lora (Nogoyá Department) and Miguel Piana (Federación).

In his presentation, the director of Epidemiology, Diego Garcilazo, presented the data available in The Situation Room of the portfolio –which ElDía accessed, and have statistical measurements until 2011-while the general coordinator of the provincial Cancer Institute (IPC), Graciela López de Degani, provided the specific medical characteristics of the cases.

“If there was a direct link between the use of agrochemicals and cancer diseases, my deduction is that rural populations would be sicker than urban ones. That’s why we asked the Ministry of Health for this information,” Mattiauda said. And while that particular relationship is not measured, so the data could not be given to legislators, the meeting “was very fruitful,” the departmental senator pondered.

“Entre Ríos is below the national average, according to the professionals,” indicated the referent of Juntos por el Cambio, and questioned: “the Justice did not ask the Ministry of Health for statistical information to make its ruling concrete” about the distances between plant health fumigations and rural establishments. Therefore, the advocate of” good use and good practices “again pointed out:”justice is being handled by social humor, and not with scientific information.”

“The first conclusion is that there is no way to check or relate cancer to the use of agrochemicals. The main cause of cancer in the population is age,” Mattiauda said.

Data from the Ministry of Health

For his part, Garcilazo reviewed the information over time and stressed the importance of interpreting the data taking into account the context. For example, in the 1980s the main cause of death was cardiovascular events, followed by different types of cancer. Currently, by contrast, statistics show that cancer is the first, and heart complications are second.

“Then, it should be known that this data does not mean that cancer cases have increased, but reflects the decline in deaths due to cardiovascular causes since therapeutic resources have advanced, such as stent placement and different treatments,” the Epidemiology Holder argued.

On the other hand, López De Degani commented: “the most frequent cancers in the province emerge from multiple causes and, to each of them, they must be studied by means of a specific analysis.” In this context, the professional stated that tumors do not have a single cause but, in their appearance, different factors intervene: in most cases age affects, while in others there is a genetic predisposition such as the case of breast cancer.

Provincial statistics come from two sources: death certificates and the provincial tumour Register, which is one of the oldest in the country, with almost 20 years of development and whose reports are supported by international organizations. On the basis of the information provided, the legislators agreed that it will help them to propose alternatives in the reform of the plant protection project.

In this sense, Mattiauda said:”We understand that we have yet to carry out a campaign of clarification on these issues and to make known the scientific and true data”.

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