Oil and Cancer in Ecuador

An excellent article in the San Francisco Chronicle reports on human suffering and environmental destruction in Ecuador which 30,000 Ecuadorians claim are a result of Texaco’s (now owned by Chevron) past oil operations in the country. 

These Ecuadorians are plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit that argues that high rates of cancer in the area are a result of toxic waste dumped by Texaco into rivers, wetlands and unlined pits.

Texaco created a "Rainforest Chernobyl" by dumping an estimated 18 billion gallons of toxic waste. In addition to high rates of cancer there have been reports of skin diseases, birth defects and spontaneous abortions that have been caused as a result of the pollution.

The case has been highly contentious. Lawyers and activists involved in the case have been subjected to threats and harassment. The U.N. sent a letter to the Ecuadorian government on Nov. 17 demanding that measures be taken to ensure the safety of the people involved in this landmark case.