The small community of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua has been faced with a heartbreaking epidemic. Prevalent studies have shown that about 68% of men (nearly all of them sugar mill workers) have stage one to five chronic kidney diseases. The life expectancy in this population is only 46 years, as many people have died from this disease.
The workers at the San Antonio Sugar Mill in Nicaragua presume that the causes are likely chemicals, extended workdays and the suffocating heat; however, studies haven’t been able to link any causes to pesticides. What seems to be a likely cause is recurrent, daily dehydration.
The irony seems evident. In order to work and feed their families, many men in Chichigalpa must work as sugarcane harvesters. Unfortunately, not long after working in these sugar mills, many develop chronic kidney disease, and can no longer work at the mill, or any other job for that matter. The alarming rates at which the workers are being afflicted are devastating for both those suffering from the disease and for their families.
To learn more, watch “The Human Cost of Sugar Harvesting”: