Environmental Law
La Oroya Peru Lead Contamination
Helping those Affected Seek Justice and Financial Compensation.

Lead Contamination - La Oroya, Peru

Case Updates

The town of La Oroya is a mining town located in the central Andean highlands of Peru, at an elevation of approximately 3,750 meters above sea-level. For more than 500 years, the settlements near La Oroya are believed to have been working small-scale mining operations. In the last one hundred years however, with the creation of the La Oroya Complex, production dramatically increased, contaminating the local population with it. The La Oroya Complex is located only meters from the city center.

The health effects of lead poisoning are well known. The CDC has noted that: “No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement.” Lead impacts nearly every organ and system of the human body. Lead causes multitudinous and serious injuries to the nervous system, which can lead to convulsions, coma and brain death.  It causes learning and behavioral disorders, memory loss, nausea, anemia, hearing loss, fatigue, colic, hypertension, and myalgia. Moreover, children under the age of 6 years old are more susceptible to the toxic effects of lead than are adults since the brain and central nervous system are not completely developed

The La Oroya Complex recovers 11 metals including copper, zinc, silver, lead, cadmium, indium, bismuth, gold, selenium, tellurium and antimony, as well as numerous by-products (e.g., zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, sulfuric acid, arsenic trioxide, zinc dust, zinc-silver concentrates) from the poly-metallic concentrates produced by the central Andean mines.

The local residents of La Oroya, in particular the young children and babies, are suffering from lead exposure, with the Complex being the source. The injuries the children and families are experiencing include physical and psychological problems, learning and other permanent disabilities, weight loss, stunted growth, anemia, headaches, abdominal and other pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, the cost of medical, educational, and rehabilitation expenses, and other expenses of training and assistance, and loss of income and earning capacity.

No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body.

-National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Emergency and Environmental Services

In the middle of the 2000s La Oroya was identified as one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world. During that time, a group of research scientists from the Saint Louis University School of Public Health in Saint Louis, Missouri who have studied La Oroya concluded that the conditions in La Oroya constitute a public health crisis that poses serious health risks for all population groups.

The Napoli Shkolnik and Rodriguez, Tramont & Nunez law firms continue to have an office and representatives in La Oroya.

The team is led by Jonathan Cardenas Romero and team members include: Liliana Camarena Cuyubamba, David Galarza Esteban, Marcos Camarena Cuyubamba, Cecilia G. Lujan Limas, Elizabeth Y. Arroyo Jimenez, Lizbeth Esteban Basualdo, and Greysi Paola Yupanqui Vilca.