Rio Rancho residents concerned over Intel emissions
Posted at: 07/25/2012 10:17 PM
| Updated at: 07/25/2012 10:22 PM
By: Marissa Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4; Danielle Flores, KOB.com
Rio Rancho residents said they are worried about breathing toxic fumes after receiving a letter from Intel on Wednesday.
Thousands of residents found a monthly update from Intel in their mailbox, mentioning hydrogen fluoride emissions.
David and Aimee Thurlo said Intel has been a good neighbor, but the letter has them questioning their safety.
"The letter has absolutely no information on there. It is, to me, ambiguous," Aimee Thurlo stated.
In the letter, Intel's site manager alerts residents about a newly formed team that will be studying possible short-term hydrogen fluoride emissions from the Rio Rancho plant.
The Thurlo's want to know if that means Intel will be emitting hydrogen fluoride from the plant.
David Thurlo is a retired science teacher and said if that happens, residents who live nearby could be in danger.
"My science background tells me that hydrogen fluoride, when it mixes with water...any kind of water, it forms hydrofluoric acid, which is extremely dangerous," David Thurlo explained.
He said direct contact with the chemical can burn the skin. Even in gas form, hydrogen fluoride can have some major health effects.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hydrogen fluoride goes easily into the skin and tissues of the body. There, it can damage cells and cause them to work improperly. The CDC also said breathing the gas can burn lung tissue and cause swelling.
As for long-term effects, chronic lung disease is at the top of the list.
KOB Eyewitness News 4 contacted Intel for a statement.
Intel said they have been releasing hydrogen fluoride for more than 10 years, but have been going through the necessary state agencies to make sure those levels are not dangerous or toxic to people in the area.
As for the possibility of hydrofluoric acid, Intel said the level of hydrogen fluoride is so low, it would not cause any damage if mixed with water.