EARTHWORKS

Factoid #22: Name Your Poison, Pardner

Factoid #22: Name Your Poison, Pardner
1872 Mining Law Fact #22

Published: August 18, 2004

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No matter how stiff your saloon order, it'll never be as dangerous as cyanide. A human can be killed by a mere teaspoon of 2% cyanide solution.

Massive quantities of this deadly poison-2,681,256 pounds per year-are released by multinational mining corporations, potentially endangering water supplies vital to American communities.

Residential drinking water was compromised by the spill of 52,000 gallons of cyanide from a Montana gold mine. The state's voters later banned cyanide in a statewide referendum.

But mining companies aren't willing to pay for less dangerous, cyanide-free methods that would help protect community health and clean water in other states.

Yet citizens and communities are left totally unprotected by the 1872 Mining Law. When it comes to bellying up with cyanide, your odds are better in an old fashioned shoot-out.

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