IN RECENT months, five people died in Peru as a direct result of drinking water from jungle sources that were contaminated by cocoa cultivation and cocaine processing. Among other toxic chemicals, kerosene, sulfuric acid, and ammonia are used to produce cocaine. These deaths were caused by the consumption of water from springs or streams into which the drug traffickers throw their highly toxic chemical wastes.
Even antinarcotics police who confiscate and destroy the hidden drug laboratories have been adversely affected by contact with poisonous residues. Many other jungle residents are also undergoing irreversible organic damage as a result of consuming the polluted water. The sad thing is that a large part of these settlers are unaware of the danger many of them are in. no doubt they are even people who have nothing to do with cocoa cultivation or processing.