Published January 4, 2011
A member of parliament has asked that the Environmental Committee convene to address evidence of highly toxic dioxin gas being released by a garbage incinerator near Ísafjörður, which has caused both environmental damage to the region and possibly contributed to health problems among the residents. The incinerator was shut down permanently on January 1, following the discovery.
Eyjan reports that Social Democrat MP Ólína Þorvarðardóttir has called for the meeting, pointing out that the incinerator Funi, in the West Fjörds town of Ísafjörður, has been damaging the environment for years with the release of dioxin gas. People living in the area have also reported health problems associated with dioxin.
Strangest of all, the matter was not brought to light by health officials but actually by a regional dairy manufacturer, which found highly poisonous levels of dioxin in cow’s milk. Following up on this, it was discovered that emissions from Funi have never been accurately gauged, and that dioxin levels in the area were up to 20 times over the safe limit.
Ólína has asked the committee to get to the bottom of how this could have been allowed to continue for as long as it has, and what steps must now be taken.
Dioxins are a group of chemicals with varying levels of toxicity, damaging to liver and kidneys, and can have serious long-term health effects. TCDD, the poison that was used against former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, is for example a dioxin, and was also an active ingredient of the infamous Vietnam War-era pesticide Agent Orange.