Lead from old car batteries poisons Senegalese town
THIAROYE-SUR-MER, Senegal —
First, it took the animals. Goats fell
silent and refused to stand up. Chickens
died in handfuls, then en masse. Street
Then it took the children. Toddlers
stopped talking and their legs gave out.
Women birthed stillborns. Infants withered
and died. Some said the houses were
cursed. Others said the families were
The mysterious illness killed 18
children in this town on the fringes of
Dakar, Senegal's capital, before anyone in
the outside world noticed. When they did -
when the TV news aired parents' angry
pleas for an investigation, when the
doctors ordered more tests, when the West
sent health experts - they did not find
malaria, or polio or AIDS, or any of the
diseases that kill the poor of Africa.
They found lead.