Intoxication caused by different toxic agents is a very frequent medical emergency that the great majority of health care service providers is not reporting to the Provincial Department Control Units. This has resulted in this information being enormously under-recorded in the National Public Health Control System (SIVIGILA). There is a demonstrated need to improve or implement a monitoring system for toxicological poisoning due to this underreporting and the low coverage afforded to monitoring intoxications throughout Colombia, the lack of data analysis in the provincial departments, the little training for those who intervene in the monitoring processes, and the scarce or nonexistent intervention of the territorial agencies regarding this matter.
The fact that health teams are not prepared to monitor intoxication caused by pesticides has contributed to the inadequate handling of the complaints that communities have filed regarding illness caused by aerial spraying with glyphosate and even, on several occasions, to unreliable or ill-interpreted information being disseminated. That is why the MINISTRY OF SOCIAL PROTECTION and the NATIONAL HEALTH INSTITUTE have begun to build a proposal to conduct such monitoring and to comply with the provisions set forth in Law 714 Article 43 Number 3.7 to control potentially toxic substances as well as those in 1991 Decree 1843 Article 170 regarding the epidemiological control of pesticides.
Simultaneously, for the purpose of monitoring the possible effects of glyphosate on human health, a short-term project has been planned called "Evaluation of the Effects of Glyphosate and Other Pesticides on Health in the Illicit Crop Eradication Program Target Influence Areas", to be carried out in eight (8) provincial departments (Antioquia, Guajira, Huila, Narico, Putumayo, Santander, Tolima, and the District of Santa Marta).
These activities are included in Technical Card No. 7 in the Illicit Crop Eradication Program through Glyphosate Spraying (PECIG) Environmental Management Plan - Public Health Program.
This enables the state to meet the responsibilities and requirements stipulated in National Defense Resolution No. 026 dated October 9, 2002 and through the Cundinamarca Administrative Court decision dated June 13, 2003.
To assist in developing the project, we count on the participation of Dr. Jorge Hernon Botero Tobin, United States Embassy, Bogota Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) Human and Environmental Toxicology Advisor.
The proposal is to research, gather and document epidemiological evidence, given the fact that until now the work done has been solely based on analyzing inconclusive complaints.
The project consists of detecting one hundred (100) patients from the spraying zone influence area, who, within a maximum of five (5) days after aerial spraying, consulted the IPS (health care provision companies) with health symptoms derived from contact or exposure to pesticides or where clinical exams showed a condition compatible with acute intoxication caused by pesticides, no matter what the degree of severity, diagnosed by the physician, and who, in addition, had previous contact or exposure to pesticides, for occupational or accidental reasons, excluding cases documented as suicide attempts.
Urine and blood samples will be taken from the persons selected for the study who voluntarily accept to participate in the study, in order to perform the below tests.
1. Determine the presence of glyphosate and amino methyl phosphonic acid (AMPA) in the urine: This will be done at the Quebec Toxicology Center in Canada upon remitting the collected urine samples.
2. Determine the presence of organochlorates (OC) in the blood: This will be done using fine-layer chromatography. The following pesticides will be included: heptachlorine, p-p, DDT, p-p, DDD, aldrin, chlordane-gama, oxichlordane, heptachlorine epoxide, and hexachlorine bencene. The samples will be processed in the National Health Institute Environmental Health Laboratory.
3. Determine the presence of acetyl cholinesterase (Ache) in the blood for organophosphorous (OF) and carbamate (C) pesticides: The test will be done using the Lamperos and Ranta method also in the National Health Institute Environmental Health Laboratory.
April 1 to May 30, 2003
June 1 to August 31, 2003
September 1, 2003 to January 16, 2004
Narico (September 1-5, 2003): 35 environmental health professionals and 53 environmental health were trained.
Putumayo (October 20- 24, 2003): 29 environmental health professionals, 2 environmental health technicians and 21 rural health promoters were trained.
Huila (December 1-5, 2003): 43 environmental health professionals and 34 environmental health technicians were trained.
Tolima (January 13-16, 2004): 26 environmental health professionals and 40 environmental health technicians were trained.
May 1, 2004 to July 15, 2004
July 23- 27, 2004
August 23-27, 2004