From Iceland — Town Residents Poisoned By Silicon Metals Plant Pollution

Town Residents Poisoned By Silicon Metals Plant Pollution

Published November 28, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Marek Ślusarczyk/Wikimedia Commons

Pollution from a silicon metals plant in Reykjanesbær reportedly poisoned a number of residents in the town, prompting them to seek medical attention. The mayor of Reykjanesbær has described the incident as “beginner’s hiccups”.

Stundin reports that nurse María Magnúsdóttir sought medical attention after pollutants coming from the nearby United Silicon plant caused chemical burns to the mucous membranes of her mouth and throat. While the area health clinic would not disclose how many people have sought medical attention for the same injuries, sources close to Stundin report numerous residents have gone to the clinic to be treated for the same symptoms.

Further, some of these pollutants may contain PAH and B(a)P, both of which are highly toxic and carcinogenic.

RÚV reports that the board of United Silicon have admitted their error. As Kristleifur Andrésson, the director of security and environmental matters at the company, explains:

“Our mistake is simply that we did not convey the right information in a clear enough matter to the community. But we intend to improve this significantly, and we will work on this in close cooperation with the community,” adding that the pollutants were the result of burning materials at the incorrect temperature.

RÚV also reports that about 40 residents of the town have complained of injuries resulting from the pollution. Nonetheless, Reykjanesbær mayor Kjartan Már Kjartansson downplayed the matter, likening it to “beginner’s hiccups” for the company, and that matters should be wrapped up soon.

This, María was unsatisfied with, telling reporters that the plant ought to be closed altogether.

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