Rare Rare-Earth Elements | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 49 | p. 5 | Letters
Issue Date: December 5, 2011

Rare Rare-Earth Elements

Department: Letters

The welcome article “Critical Materials Problem Continues” should have emphasized the needs of future generations (C&EN, Oct. 24, page 28). The theme of the article seems to mirror what we have done to the riches of petroleum that we lucked into—find it and extract it until it is gone.

I would like to have seen raised as an important issue the recovery of all these irreplaceable metals from waste, as in the pile of spent automotive catalytic converters shown. In my view, such efficient recovery should be a requirement for the use of all these materials and its cost included in their price. As it is, the article left me very worried about our casual husbandry of important, irreplaceable elements.

By Victor J. Reilly
Aiken, SC

 
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