Hazardous Waste Information
Hard Rock Mining Largest Polluter in the United States "Hard rock mining companies and coal-burning power plants are the two most polluting industries in the United States, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Both industries were responsible for nearly two-thirds of all the chemicals released into the nation's air and water. Hard rock mining includes the mining of gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, uranium, molybdenum, etc." Arizona came in third with 744 million pounds of toxics released!
POLLUTION LOCATOR — Scorecard Community Center" A direct link to Environmental Defense's Scorecard for Pima County. Asarco and Sierrita mines top the list. An extensive map based site that provides national, state, and regional (by zip code) breakdowns of TRI data including comparisons among geographic areas."
RIGHT TO KNOW Network Contains detailed list of releases and waste by chemical name.
Ammonia Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems. Suspected toxicant of several human organs and the nervous system.
Chromium Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to human health. Suspected carcinogen, toxicant of liver, kidney and resperatory system.
Copper Ranked as most hazardous compound to human health in 9 out of 9 ranking systems. Suspected toxicant of several human organs, particularly liver. The copper is extracted, but some remains in the solutions that go to the tailings ponds.
Lead Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds to ecosystems and human health, a known carcinogen.
Manganese Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds to human health.
Mercury compounds More hazardous than most chemicals in 6 out of 7 ranking systems. See hazardous waste incidents for Phelps Dodge Sierritas Mine.
Molybdenum Trioxide More hazardous than most chemicals in 1 out of 8 ranking systems. This is an important chemical as it is not regulated by the water standards, yet it is a suspected carcinogen, neurotoxicant (that's our brain!) and resipitory toxicant. This chemical is considered most toxic if inhaled. Phelps Dodge Sierritas does manufacture it for sell (somewhere between 1,000,000 and 10,000,000 lbs. in 2002), but with an air release of 4,000 lbs. in the process.
Nickel More hazardous than most chemicals in 8 out of 11 ranking systems, a recognized carcinogen and supected of damaging nearly every organ of the body. 318,840 lbs. of it was dumped on the ground every year since 2000.
Nitrate Compounds Less hazardous than most chemicals. Suspected cardiovascular or blood toxicant.
Sulfuric acid More hazardous than most chemicals in 7 out of 10 ranking systems. It is not a toxin that has known health factors, only suspected ones, including respiratory. I guess it depends on how close you are to the acid! The numbers for Duval/Sierrita mine are shocking: a range from 14,000 to 39,000 pounds annually dumped behind those barbed wires and toxic mounds. I guess we were lucky that only 18,710 lbs. escaped into the air in one year"fugitive" escape.