Women against lead poisoning – Diario de Xalapa

A group of women, including artisans, traditional cooks, scientists, chefs and instructors, have worked through various efforts to remove lead from Mexican tables in recent years, resulting in over 170 people benefiting from the Círculo de Mujeres Made Clay program. Pottery communities of the country.

In the scientific field, he is Dr. Thanks to the research and direction of Martha Maria Tellez-Rojo, two surveys were conducted with the support of the National Institute of Public Health, Ministry of Health, INEGI and state governments. According to the NGO Pure Earth Mexico, to include measurements of blood lead levels in the National Health and Nutrition Survey 2018-2019.

According to the organization, this event strengthened the connection of various government institutions and made it possible to make visible this problem, which affects, on average, about 20 percent of the Mexican population, as a result of the use of glazed clay in the form of plates. Saucepans, cups and utensils used in homes and restaurants in Mexico.

“Once the vulnerable population was identified and considering that according to INEGI there are 41,289 people dedicated to pottery in the country and 55 percent are women, Pure Earth Mexico was created in 2020 with the support of the Clarios Foundation and the Canada Fund. Circle of Women Made of Clay Programme”, the NGO detailed in a statement.

The circle is made up of 68 female potters from Actiopan and Cohucan in the state of Puebla, who learned to build and use traditional high-temperature kilns and use lead-free glazes according to the type of clay existing in their community. A pottery tradition, they innovated their creations and started creating community and social awareness.

While the women of Tuliman, in the municipality of Huitzuco de los Figueroa in Guerrero—who already work with lead-free clay—learned about financial literacy, a fact that enabled them to value their work and establish the necessary budgets. To realize your pieces without risking your economy and your family.

“Of these 68 women, 100 percent have graduated and with this, more than 170 members of the pottery community have benefited in terms of health, economy and community development. Also, 72 percent of them are interested in being able to pass on this knowledge to other family members to preserve their community’s pottery tradition,” said Pure Earth Mexico Field Operations Coordinator Dr. Netzi Peralta said.

Another achievement of the Circle of Women Made Clay is that from 2020 to 2021 blood lead levels dropped by 51.2 percent of some Cohuken participants and 42.3 percent of Actiopen participants.

The organization affirmed that it would like to replicate this model in other communities in Puebla, such as Ecjete, Amozoc and Barrio de la Luz, as it is the state with the highest rate of lead poisoning in 5 out of 10 children, also explained. Anthropologist, Netzi Peralta.

To finish and close the circle, seven traditional cooks and 12 chefs led by Graciela Montano join this effort to eliminate lead from the country’s kitchen and with the creation of a cookbook, a product of gastronomic collaboration between India and Mexico, which includes more than 40. The recipes will be available digitally and will serve to raise funds within the framework of 8M to continue working with more potters.

Chef Montano explains that the recipe book reflects his love for an earthy kitchen and the use of species such as turmeric. He added that participation at all levels is important to remove lead from blood in the intellectual capacity and development of Mexicans, and mainly girls and boys who are most affected.

She details that this fight is not about gender, but about building a better future without lead in kitchens and homes.

The most recent pure earth study on blood lead levels in Mexico can be found at: www.barroaprobado.org/documentos/Informe-ElPlomoEnLaMesa.pdf

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