Intel could face fluoride-related Clean Air suit

Alan Crosthwaite

A group of neighbors and attorneys said this week they’ll sue to stop Intel Corp. from emitting fluorides into the atmosphere.

Neighbors for Clean Air and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center filed notice of their intent to punish Intel for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act. The groups said Intel disclosed it has emitted fluorides for many years but never informed Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.

“Fluorides are toxic, and in fact the fluoride ion is a cellular poison,” the group wrote in its notice. “Fluoride in the human body inhibits oxygen consumption, blood clotting and processing of nutrition. Fluoride in the body is also a contributing factor for problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.”

The notice comes in advance of Intel’s $3 billion D1X expansion, which could boost the amount of fluorides emitted from 0.5 tons per year to as many as 6.4 tons per year. The groups essentially say that had Intel disclosed its previous emissions, it may have faced a more rigorous review policy for the new fab.

Intel said it became aware that it did not report its fluoride emissions in Oregon to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, so it notified DEQ in 2012 to make sure it was included in the record moving forward, said spokeswoman Chelsea Hossaini.

The Oregonian newspaper first reported the filing.

The suit could be filed within 60 days. Intel would face paying as much as $37,500 per day for violations after Jan. 12, 2009. Through Wednesday, that figure added up to more than $60 million.


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