Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Toyota Prius "Very dirty origins" rare earths radioactive mining wastes, spike cancer rates; criminal gangs also smuggle

Rare earths refining plant in China.

Video report: rare earths turn villages to ruins

bloomberg: china-rare-earths-leave-toxic-trail-to-toyota-prius.html

"The world excluding China will require 55,000 to 60,000 tons of rare-earth metals this year, of which as much as 24,000 tons will come from China"

"The battery in a single Toyota Prius contains more than 20 pounds of the rare earth element lanthanum.

Some of the most environmentally benign and high-tech products turn out to have very dirty origins indeed.

China has had "lax or nonexistent" environmental regulations. But rare earth mines often also contain radioactive elements, such as uranium and thorium. Villagers near Baotou reportedly have been relocated because their water and crops have been contaminated with mining wastes. Every year the mines near Baotou produce about ten million tons of wastewater, much of it either highly acidic or radioactive, and nearly all of it untreated."

"Merry"  green car-pet hides massive environmental pollution and spiking cancer rates.

[China vows to clean up these mines, but there are many smaller illegal mines.]
"Violent criminal gangs run dozens of heavily polluting—and profitable—rare earth mines in Jiangxi and Guangdong Provinces. Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, has reported that criminals smuggled 20,000 tons of rare earths from the country in 2008, nearly a third of the total rare earth exports for that year. If you own a smart phone or a flat-screen television, it may contain contraband rare earths from southern China.
"People don't understand how totally corrupt the system in China is, with local party people aiding and abetting criminals in a very substantial way," says Alan Crawley, CEO of Pacific Ores Metals & Chemicals, a trading company in Hong Kong. Crawley speaks from experience. One of his colleagues was murdered 11 years ago by Guangdong gangsters."

"used to be"

Toyota is telling its customers that the Prius turns the world green. 
But facts show that the opposite is true.