The Daily Caller News Foundation – Bronson Winslow on February 27, 2023
Ford Motor Company’s recently released electric F-150 truck allegedly sources a majority of the aluminum used in its light-weight frame from Brazilian mines charged with pollution, land appropriation and the endangerment of thousands of people, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Revealed last April, the F-150 Lightning EV has been coined as “the truck of the future,” but the aluminum needed to build the light-weight vehicle is mined by Norwegian company Hydro Alunorte, which is currently being sued by thousands of residents over toxic byproducts being released as a result of the mining efforts, according to Bloomberg. The connection was found after investigators tracked aluminum from a Ford assembly complex in Dearborn, Michigan, to a Pennsylvania parts manufacturer, to a Canadian smelter, and ultimately, to Brazilian mines.
“Every single day we die a little bit,” said Maria do Socorro, 57, who is part of a community involved in the suit, according to Bloomberg. Socorro’s family is personally affected by the mining efforts, saying her grandson’s organs broke through his skin at birth and eight of her family members have cancer.
“We are victims of this company, Hydro. They come and make money and leave nothing for us,” she continued.
The affected communities surround the Hydro Alunorte refinery in Barcarena, and mined components travel from the companies MRN mine to the Alunorte refinery on the Amazon river, according to Bloomberg.
The suit claims that Hydro Alunorte produces toxic mud that is permeated with aluminum and other heavy metals, according to Bloomberg. Hydro Alunorte’s mining projects have caused cancer, hair loss, neurological dysfunction, birth defects and increased mortality in the surrounding communities, plaintiffs argue.
Many of the toxic byproducts are created during the refining process, as bauxite is refined into alumina, which becomes aluminum, according to Bloomberg.
“Ford is committed to a supply chain that exceeds minimum regulatory compliance requirements and respects human rights, including the right to clean air and clean water,” A Ford spokesperson told Bloomberg.
As a result of the mining process, researchers believe that the rivers and streams around the mines are now 57 times more contaminated than what is considered safe, according to Bloomberg. Medical tests performed on residents in the area also showed high levels of contamination, with one woman having 175 times the limit for aluminum in her hair and 81 times the limit in her blood.
Hydro Alunorte’s largest shareholder is the Norwegian government, and in 2018, Brazilian authorities fined the company 20 million reais ($6.1 million) for a discharge of untreated water during a flood, according to Bloomberg. The company further paid another 160 million reais, but denied any wrongdoing, saying Hydro Alunorte meets all “standards for social responsibility, health, safety and the environment.”
Ford and Hydro Alunorte did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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