After the controversial success of the HBO miniseries Chernobyl , it may be time to remember the time in which, in Mexico, the Conasupo distributed radioactive milk throughout the country in 1987.
Yes, maybe the new generations are not aware of this, but it never happened. The story began when, after the accident of Chernobyl, which occurred on April 26, 1986, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the purchase or sale of products contaminated by radiation should be avoided.
But, despite the warning, Mexico bought about 40,000 tons of contaminated milk from the government of Ireland.
Prior to that, the Irish government tried to sell radioactive milk to Brazil but did not accept it. After the rejection, it was announced that Ireland would continue trying to sell the milk product to Third World countries.
The purchase of the radioactive product did not cause noise in the society until Antonio González Quintanilla, then Mexican ambassador alerted the government to the health risk that this would mean for Mexicans, but was ignored.
After ignoring the WHO alert and the ambassador’s warning, the acquisition of milk was made to the Irish Dairy Board, now known as Ornua.
The radioactive product arrived in Veracruz on June 13, 1987.
The distribution of milk through Conasupo was made throughout the country; Raúl Salinas de Gortari, brother of former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, held various positions in that institution.
During the governments of Miguel de la Madrid, Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Ernesto Zedillo, the distribution of milk was carried out by Conasupo.
Concerned about the damage this could cause to the health of the people, Vice Admiral Manuel Rodríguez Gordillo, who made a revision to the food and found a label that said it came from Ireland, asked the physicist Miguel Ángel Valdovinos, head of the CFE nuclear power plant that tested the product.
Studies on milk brought from Ireland revealed that it exceeded 10 times the permitted limits of radioactivity.
When revealing the information, both characters were dismissed from their positions and accused of defamation by the government and irremediably, then went to jail.
Meanwhile, in 2014 Dr. Rocío Cárdenas, head of the Department of Oncology of the National Institute of Pediatrics (INP), said without wanting to say, that there would be a possible association between the increase in cases of children with cancer and radioactive milk.
He said it because there was an increase in cases of childhood cancer between 1987 and 1997.
However, the government ignored the accusations about his irresponsibility and opted to remain silent at all times, even to this day.
While the case seems to have been forgotten or used for videos that seem to tell a ghost story, this is perhaps the best example of how ignorance, corruption, and misinformation can have fatalities.
Source: Plumas Atómicas, Proceso
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