Community Protest in Mexico 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



On May 14, 2010 news was circulated on the internet of a broadly based protest against an American owned factory (American Roll SA) which produces asbestos-containing brake linings in Iztapalapa, a borough of Mexico City with nearly 2 million residents.1


At a press conference, local politician Carlos Augusto Morales denounced the adverse health effects, including respiratory disease amongst children and cancer deaths amongst adults,2 that this company's asbestos pollution has had on local people.3 The Government is being urged to take immediate action to stop production at this factory and decontaminate the industrial site on Victoria street in Barrio San Lucas as well as the surrounding area. In his comments to the media, Morales spoke of the global consensus that exposure to asbestos causes cancer and expressed his dismay that even now, after nearly a decade of community action over the toxic presence of American Roll SA in Iztapalapa, there have been no moves by central authorities to engage with this problem.

The toxic factory, which has been operational for more than 20 years, is located in a residential area in close proximity to a number of schools. A local spokesperson, Ms. C Brugada, has publicly detailed efforts by protestors to tackle the situation, including an attempt on May 12 to enter into discussions with company officials; this attempt was blocked by American Roll personnel. Brugada says that official requests will be made to the Legislative Assembly to expropriate the industrial site and to the Environment Ministry to close the factory.

May 17, 2010


1 Quintero M. J. Vecinos de Iztapalapa culpan a una empresa por la muerte de 10 personas. May 14, 2010.

2 It has been alleged that 10 local people have died from cancer causied by their exposure to absestos from the American Roll factory.

3 Exigen la clausura de empresa contaminante en Iztapalapa. May 17, 2010.



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