Why is H2SO4 harmful to our skin

Sulfuric acid: danger to people and the environment

Sulfuric acid is one of the strongest acids around. It is very corrosive to the skin and mucous membranes and can destroy living tissue. The extent of the hazard depends on the concentration. If the chemical gets into the water, it is toxic to fish and other aquatic life.

In the current case, according to the Mexican water authority Conagua, around 40,000 cubic meters of sulfuric acid with released copper entered the Bacanuchi River. Up to 800,000 people depend on the body of water, which stretches over 420 kilometers. The drinking water supply in seven cities had to be restricted in order to avoid health risks for the population.

According to the authorities, the poisonous broth comes from the "Buenavista del Cobre" mine, which is owned by Grupo Mexico. The mining group is currently expanding its activities in the region significantly. By 2015 he wants to become the three largest copper producers in the world. The state of Sonora is home to more than a quarter of Mexico's mining industry. This is where the largest amounts of gold, copper, graphite and other mining products are mined nationwide.

A year ago, the Yaqui River in the same region was contaminated by cyanide, which was supposed to be used for gold and silver mining, following an accident. This led to a lack of drinking water, disease among residents, and the death of birds and reptiles.

The acid in the Bacanuchi must now be neutralized with lime and pumped out. The environmental protection agency PROFEPA wants to oblige the company to do this. In addition, the company should prevent further spread of the poison by means of suitable devices.