EARTHWORKS

Factoid #20: Cigarette Smoke Meets Its Perfect Match

Factoid #20: Cigarette Smoke Meets Its Perfect Match
1872 Mining Law Fact #20

Published: July 18, 2003

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Toxic waste from hardrock mines and cigarette smoke are raising eyebrows around town because they have so much in common. For instance, they each emit the heavy metal cadmium which scientists have found to increase the risk of cancer.

According to a new study to be published in the August 2003 issue of the journal Nature Medicine, cadmium may be a risk factor for breast cancer.

A toxic heavy metal that builds up in human tissue over time, cadmium causes lung damage, kidney disease, fragile bones and digestive tract distress. It's also found in battery acid.

And hardrock mining emits more cadmium than any other industry-6.9 million pounds in 2001, according to the industry's own figures.

Yet the 1872 Mining Law places no limits on cadmium or any other disease-causing contaminants. And when mining companies make romantic claims about environmental stewardship, it's nothing but a smokescreen.

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