Despite research showing a connection between sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from geothermal plants and shortened lifespans of those who live near them, the Directorate of Health says they will not be investigating the matter further.
RÚV reports that Haraldur Briem, an epidemiologist at the Directorate, told reporters that there is no revenue available to conduct further study. At the same time, Haraldur said that there is no reason to believe the public health may be at risk due to geothermal emissions.
This statement directly contradicts recent research from the University of Iceland. Specifically, a connection was shown between SO2 levels around the Hellisheiði and Nesjavellir power plants in the summer months, and death rates amongst people aged 80 and up.
Ragnhildur Finnbjörnsdóttir, who conducted and continues to conduct the research, said that “it is difficult to say whether there is a direct correlation here, but there was another study investigating the relationship between SO2 and the prevalence of asthma which indicated a correlation. Therefore I think that this is an issue that needs to be studied further.”