As the Pahang coastal area is bauxite-contaminated, the red sea is bound to be a “dead sea” for up to three years. Bauxite is the principal ore of alumina (Al2O3), which is used to produce aluminum (Al). Bauxite is a residual rock formed from the weathering of various rocks. These parent rocks have been exposed to millions of years of weathering under tropical or very wet temperate conditions, which Malaysia perfectly fits.
What are the 4 main things you should know about Bauxite?
1. Bauxite Mining Produces Radioactive Dust Which Is Cancerous
Mining of Bauxite produces dust. This dust consisting of toxic chemicals plus the natural emissions of radiation products as radium, thorium, and beryllium.
- Radium is highly radioactive, when ingested, 80% of the ingested radium leaves the body through the feces, while the other 20% goes into the bloodstream, mostly accumulating in the bones.
- Exposure to radium, internal or external, can cause cancer and other disorders.
- Exposure to an aerosol of thorium and radium can lead to increased risk of cancers of the lung, pancreas, and blood, as lungs and other internal organs can be penetrated by alpha radiation. Exposure to thorium internally leads to increased risk of liver disease.
2. Sodium Hydroxide Is Harmful for Respiratory System
According to OSHA, the sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which is the primary waste in red sludge, is harmful to human beings after prolonged contact, say 15 years. Direct contact may cause skin irritation, or inflammation of the respiratory system such as blistering of the throat, mouth or nose.
3. Toxicity From Bauxite Mining Cause Diseases
Prolonged toxicity may cause encephalopathy, osteoporosis, anemia, and possibly Parkinson diseases. An Australian researcher in Australia where bauxite mining is largely developed proved that red sludge causes lung cancer and uterus deformation in rat experiments. The common symptoms of toxicity on humans are dizziness, vertigo, nausea, fainting, or comatose if breathing or taking in a large dosage.
4. Bauxite Mining Causes Fishery Pollution
The fishing industry will also be damaged due to the poisonous chemicals from the red sludge. Fish can subsequently be vanishing or even become extinct.
"It affects all forms of life, from the planktons to the top carnivores in the area, even the marine mammals," the Malay Mail quoted Dr. Harinder, who is also a marine expert at the Malaysia National Oceanographic Data Centre, as saying.
These sediments will clog the gills of the fish and the breathing system of the clams. That is when all the marine life will start dying. We will start having shortage of marine line supply, it will be a dead zone.
Here's a mind map from GetDoc's team member, Nicky to help you understand more about Bauxite and the effect of it towards human:
What do you know about Bauxite other than this? Share with us by commenting below!
Qian's interest in healthcare industry came about after her father was diagnosed with bladder cancer. This experience has led her to become a strong believer in empowering individuals to take charge of their own health. View all articles by Qian.