Down To Earth

Oct 22, 2010 8:52 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Hungary has toxic red sludge, but U.S. has red dust

POINT COMFORT, Texas (AP) - When the wind blows in two Texas Gulf Coast towns and one Louisiana community, red dust sometimes coats lawns, trucks and traffic lights.

The dust and nearby red mud lakes make clear the towns are not far - industry-wise - from Hungary, where a red mud reservoir burst earlier this month, unleashing a massive flood of caustic red sludge that killed at least nine people.

Many say that disaster is unlikely here. But the U.S. towns have their own concerns.

Most pollution comes from the dust left after alumina, which is used to manufacture aluminum, is extracted from bauxite ore.

Environmental regulators say the dust is harmless, though there is little research on its health impacts.

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