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Olympic medals manufacture caused air pollution

Sep 25

Written by:
25/09/2013 14:37  RssIcon

Mining company Rio Tinto sued over “illegal air pollution” allegations

Rio Tinto's fully owned subsidiary Kennecott Utah Copper, is being sued over claims of "illegal air pollution" at the open pit mine that produced the metals for the 2012 Olympic medals.

The lawsuit was filed in Utah district court and stated that “the Bingham Canyon mine, near Salt Lake City, had breached the [US Clean Air Act]  for five years causing effects doctors called "similar to smoking 20 cigarettes a day". Claimants included the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE), Utah Moms for Clean Air and the environmental group Wildearth Guardians.

The UPHE stated that “dust from the mine can be absorbed into the bloodstream, causing respiratory system damage, adverse pulmonary effects and potentially even premature death".

The founder of Utah Moms for Clean Air, said: "In Utah, Rio Tinto are the number one emitter of toxins known to cause harm to human health. Every year, between 1,000 and 2,000 Utahans die prematurely due to chronic air pollution and Rio Tinto's Bingham mine is responsible for about 30 per cent of this."

Rio Tinto has denied the allegations. Defence documents stated that "Kennecott had operated an ambient air quality monitoring station at Copperton, Utah, which station is located to detect potential particulate matter impacts from Bingham Canyon Mine. This monitoring station had consistently showed air quality readings well below the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)."




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