Aerogel: Cerro De Pasco, Peru

Week #17: Heavy Metal Ions (Real-Life Stories)

Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez
4 min readDec 2, 2022

Preface ✨

Hello everyone!

My intentions for writing these articles are:

  • Explain technical information about aerogels in simple terms (to the public)
  • Store information and habits for my future self and others (in <7 minutes)

Coolio? Sweet. Enjoy the series :-)

New Bedtime Story 📖

Let’s give the basics. Here is a Google Earth Screenshot of Cerro De Pasco, Peru.

The following stories/notes came from reach outs via CDC and Peruvian-based publications. Muchas gracias por sus historias. 🙏

Welcome to their world.

One in three people in Peru consumes/is at risk of heavy metal ions in potable water.

The population of Peru is approximately 33 million…11 million people drink heavy metal ions.

In 8 Regions, government officials have identified 48 districts where the water sources exceed the Ambient Quality Standards For Lead, Arsenic, & Cadmium.

The mine in Cerro De Pasco is only ~150 meters from the nearest neighborhoods. A tarp does not properly cover certain areas of the mining residues. This allows heavy metal ions to float freely in the air…and the people breathe that air.

Elementary School Bordering The Mine In Paragsha, Cerro De Pasco, Peru

Children in this village respirate 15 types of heavy metal ions. The most common heavy metals are lead, arsenic, and cadmium.

The effects of heavy metal ions on these children reduce their Intelligence Quotient (IQ) due to defects in their neural system and critical thinking areas, leading to defects in their bodies.

“ The Paragsha children are 15 times more likely to get skin diseases than the Carhuamayo children and 12 times more likely to have nosebleeds. They almost all have tummy aches. It is a very serious situation and the particularity of Cerro de Pasco is that it is a chronic contamination of many different metals and some have different affectation: for example, some give you constipation and others have diarrhea.”

- Flaviano Bianchini

The mining industry in that region utilizes water that is meant to be utilized by the residents of the city. They both share the same water. This is where the water contamination problem enters.

These are photos below of the water after the mining has been completed. The primary heavy metal ion is lead.

Lead In A Cup

All values were converted from Peruvian Soles (PER) to US Dollars (USD). Notes came from secondary connections. All calculations are based on a family of four. Let me know if I made a mistake in the conversion.

65% of all Peruvians live under 6 USD (23.05 PER) per day.

Most of them are farmers or work in the Peruvian mines. 65% of Peruvians = 21.45 million people

For a week’s worth of fish, it costs 44.24 USD (170 PER) per week.

Fish back in 2014 cost 0.52 USD (2 PER) per kilo.

Fish in 2021 cost 2.08–2.60 USD (8–10 PER) per kilo.

The average pay for a mine worker in Cerro De Pasco, Peru (also in Espinar & Cuninico) is 5.20 USD/day (20 PER).

What is the potential solution for Cerro De Pasco, Peru?… due to the decades of “plague” of heavy metals in water & the air…

“We can reduce pollution in Cerro de Pasco without any problem, the issue is to want to do it, to be willing, but it is necessary to spend money: a large-scale sanitation and environmental remediation work that translates into investing a lot of money. But, I repeat, here we are playing with the future of the children, but it would also be profitable because 12 points of less IQ, means a lower productivity when the children are adults.

The loss of productivity of a population of 80 thousand people can be evaluated in millions. Remediation is not only respecting the rights of children and nature, but will be economically beneficial in the long term. The technology exists, the damage is there, but it can be remediated. We are in 2022 and we have plans to colonize Mars and I assure you that remediating Cerro de Pasco is easier. It can be done, it only requires the will”.

- Flaviano Bianchini

Why Did We Write About This? 💭

I wrote about these topics because we genuinely care about the people. Yes, I faced a similar situation with heavy metal ions. But that is not the entire reason…but it helps with identifying pain points.

A necessity is easy to sell because your life depends on it.

This is why we take deep consideration of what our people think about. One mistake costs a life.

Understanding people’s pain points allow us to build relationships and build the bridge of trust: the world’s most powerful currency.

Cerro De Pasco, Peru: That Is A Wrap. ✔️

Connect →🔗



© 2023 by Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez. All Rights Reserved.