Colombia’s coca crop-spraying caused genetic damage to 10% Ecuador border citizens: Study

Aerial crop fumigations by the Colombian government may have caused irreversible genetic damage to 10% of Ecuadorean citizens living on the country’s northeastern border, revealed a study conducted by the Universidad de las Americas in Quito.

The university’s Biomedical Investigations Institute carried out medical diagnoses of 521 people from communities on Ecuador’s border with Colombia between 2009-2010, with the goal of studying the social, health and genetic effects of the herbicide glyphosate, sprayed aerially by the Colombian government to combat the growth of coca crops.

Of those studied, 10% were shown to have developed genetic damage, with the study stating that 5% “could develop cancer,” 3% “[could] give birth to children with malformations,” and 2% “[could] have fertility problems,” reported Caracol Radio.

In 2008, the government of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa sued Colombia in an international court for “grave damages” caused by the fumigations that had taken place between 2000-2006.

In November 2010, a community organization based out of Bogota claimed that Colombian authorities had resumed air-spraying crops on the Ecuadorean border, despite swearing not to following complaints from the neighboring country.

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