The Death of San Miguel Allende as a Expat destination

The National Institute for Nuclear Research (ININ) of Mexico’s Energy Ministry certified the presence of “alpha” radiation in the water of San José Iturbide, Guanajuato.

The radiation is 300% above the tolerable levels for human consumption established in the Norm No. 127. Radioactivity can destroy tissues and slowly and silently kill people who drink this water by accumulation. In two years Guanajuato climbed from 14th to fourth place in child cancer cases. 19% of the patients developed leukemia and 4%, bone tumors.

Moreover, studies conducted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) documented 45 deaths in Tierra Blanca -a municipality adjacent to San Miguel de Allende- between 2000 and 2010 that could be related to a carcinogenic substance that comes from the erosion of rocks. Of those deaths, 14 were caused by a “rare” type of cancer.

Also, eight cases of leukemia were registered in the community of La Cantera, in the municipality of San José Iturbide, five of them fatal, well above the national average.

The rapid growth of cancer in Guanajuato seems to be linked to the consumption of water contaminated with arsenic, fluoride and radioactivity, according to official certifications, academic research and testimonies from doctors and institutions of the region, both public and private.

Between 8,000 and 11,000 cases of dental or skeletal fluorosis were registered in the last 15 years in municipalities served by the Independence Basin. Guanajuato ranks fifth in kidney diseases.

Foreign academic institutions have also studied the problem. The University of Northern Illinois, in collaboration with the NGO Centro de Desarrollo Agropecuario (Cedesa) and the Center of Applied Technology and Indigenous Sustainability, identified 46 wells in the region in critical condition. In 31 of them, fluoride levels surpass the sanitary standard, while 14 have arsenic concentrations that exceed national and international limits.

Also, according to studies conducted by researchers from the Center for Geosciences (CGEO) of UNAM and the IMSS, a substance called erionite that comes from rocks after drying is present in the municipalities of Tierra Blanca and San Miguel de Allende.

According to the study, published last year in the journal Environmental Geochemical, of the 45 cancer deaths registered between 2000 and 2012 in the region, 14 were linked to the presence of erionite fibers in the environment, because the victims developed a rare type of cancer associated with this substance called malignant mesothelioma, that attacks lungs, chest and heart tissues.

CGEO has identified wells with arsenic, fluoride and other metals in 10 municipalities of Guanajuato: Celaya, Irapuato, León, San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, San Luis de la Paz, Doctor Mora, San Diego Unión, Tierra Blanca and San José Iturbide. Other sources add Salvatierra and Salamanca to the list.

This pollution adds to the carcinogenic substances in the aquifers of La Laja river and Laguna Seca, in the Lerma-Chapala Basin


  1. I think you should add the source of your articles, that is a pretty scandalous title and probably not true as far as San Miguel being dead for ex pats. How many expats have been affected? You would have to include that with a title referring to expats. The people who use the wells and rivers are the most effected.

  2. I didn’t see why radioactivity is present. So why mention it? I don’t get it.
    The other stuff, arsenic, etc is bad, but it isn’t radioactive.
    It’s easier to just say the word without the least bit of technical data.

  3. Creo que este artículo es tendencioso y alarmista. El problema (sin confirmar) está localizado en un solo pozo en la comunidad La Cantera a 30 kilómetros de San Miguel de Allende, donde fallecieron tres niñas por leucemia linfoblástica hace cuatro años. La Cofepris, el ININ y CONAGUA reiteraron “que no hay relación entre las muertes de tres menores y dos adultos por leucemia linfoblástica aguda y el consumo del líquido proveniente de dicha fuente de abastecimiento”.

  4. Irresponsible article, certainly irresponsible and drama based non true title. No expats drink the water who live in San Miguel, so that would not stop them from wanting to live here. Certainly is important for people in the campo to get the clay water filters that are being
    made available.