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Copper Fist

In Hayden, the 1955 All American City, the only playground in the town with a toddler swing is across the fenceline from the ASARCO smelter complex. Some parents have reservations about playing with their toddlers here because of the strong chemical odors that emanate from across the fenceline. (According to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) of the federal Community Right-To-Know laws, the ASARCO copper smelter is listed as one of the nation's top releasers of chemicals and compounds tracked by the TRI system.) The fenceline is a relatively new addition to the landscape, being built in the mid-1990's, after no fence at all was there for generations of Hayden's residents. The smelter complex was started in the early 1900's.

A view through the playground fence shows a greenish-gray sludge that gives off strong odors. The smelter complex looks like it could use a facelift, too.

Looking north through the playground fence. At least now there is a barrier to keep children away from the waste on the ground. Earlier Hayden generations made green mudpies out of this stuff. The green is probably from the copper. The ASARCO smelter has reported arsenic and lead compounds as two of the compounds it reports releases under the TRI.

Looking south through the playground fence.

Looking back at the corner of the fenceline at the playground on the left, and one of the TRI's top reporter of releases to the environment on the right.

Lucky that the fence contains the green stuff.

Looking up again through the corner of the fence.

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