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Samsung chip plant in Korea leaked deadly acid into environement, authorities assesing damage

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Samsung chip plant in Korea leaked deadly acid into environement, authorities assesing damage
Hydrofluoric acid is nasty stuff, it is highly corrosive and is extremely poisonous to just about anything that breathes.  It is able to dissolve many materials including metal, so you can imagine what contact to the skin can do or how one might react if it were it were inhaled or began to burn the eyes.

However, the corrosive nature of hydrofluoric acid makes it an ideal substance in many industrial applications.  It is used in geological research, the petroleum industry, and in the manufacture of certain electronic components.  Late last month, about 10 liters of the acid leaked from a pipe at Samsung Electronics' chip plant in Hwaseong, which is 60km south of Seoul.  One worker was killed and three others were injured.

At the time, Samsung issued a statement that the situation was contained and that there was no risk of the liquid or gas causing a problem to the surrounding area.  Korean officials have determined that to not be the case based on CCTV footage showing a subcontractor of Samsung's discharging the acid through a large ventilator system.  Now, officials are not ruling out that many of the residents within a 2km radius of the facility were possibly affected by the toxic discharge.  Local environmental groups claim to have detected higher than standard levels of hydrofluoric acid in the area.

As you can imagine, Samsung has not been on the receiving end of good tidings, with locals blasting the company for not properly reporting the nature of the incident as well as try to cover it up.  So far, no real punishment has been set down, a fine of 1 million Won has been levied, but that only equals about $925.

We all love our gadgets and high-tech devices, but very often we do not think about what goes into actually making the components.  While a lot of attention is given to assembly lines and labor practices, it is important to know that a great deal of the things we enjoy in today's modern society require the use of dangerous materials to bring to fruition.

sources: Yonhap News via Sammy Hub

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