Félix Pérez, a leader for the International Ecology Alliance for the Rio Grande, believes that it is crucial that the Norfluor chemical plant in Cd. Juárez, which has been at the heart of much controversy since it experienced two chemical leaks last fall, should either close down completely or be relocated. “While we can not repair the environmental damage that has already occurred,” Pérez said, “maybe we can prevent further damage.” There have been suggestions that some of the plants waste products be used for paving the streets of Cd. Juárez.
Pérez says that the materials Norfluor processes can cause serious health problems including skin rashes and respiratory illnesses. And some of those materials should not be used in pavement compounds for the city of Juárez. The materials are stored in what has come to be know as “Plaster Mountain,” a three-acre-wide pile of white anhydrite which is made up in great part of calcium and other byproducts of the fluoride chemical production. A Monterey México business is performing a study to see if the “plaster mountain” outside the chemical plant poses any serious environmental threat.
Meanwhile, Norfluor is apparently planning to pay the fine of approximately U.S. $35 thousand for the recent chemical leaks. The company had until March 8 to appeal the city council’s ruling, and it did not file any arguments.