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Peruvian religious leaders urge Doe Run to clean up lead plant

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Peruvian religious leaders are visiting St. Louis this week to pressure the Doe Run company to improve environmental conditions at a lead smelter in Peru.

The interfaith group said nearly all the children La Oroya, Peru have high levels of lead in their blood because of the Doe Run smelter.

Roman Catholic archbishop Monsignor Pedro Barreto said the company has done some work to mitigate the problems, but Doe Run has not developed a long-term solution.

"We are maintaining that the environmental degradation that's happening in La Oroya and throughout the valley of Mantaro is not just a scientific or technical problem, but a moral and ethical problem," Barreto said.

The delegation met with Doe Run officials last week in Peru, but the group said company leaders in St. Louis declined to meet with them.

Officials here said they cannot comment because Doe Run Peru is now a separate company.

For its part, Doe Run Peru said it will have spent $240 million on environmental upgrades by 2009. It said the improvements are complex and will take time.

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