The Municipal Council of Reykjanesbær want the United Silicon plant to shut down immediately as arsenic levels in the air are consistently dangerous, reports RÚV.
Recent measurements have shown that arsenic levels around the United Silicon plant and Reykjanesbær are approximately 20 times the acceptable limits set by the Environment Agency of Iceland.
“The only thing that matters here, are our residents,” said chairman of the Reykjanesbær Municipal Council, Friðjón Einarsson. “And in my opinion that means we need to shut this plant down immediately. This [pollution] is completely unacceptable.”
Municipal Council members have issued a request for a formal meeting with Iceland’s Environmental Agency with the hopes to get the ball rolling on closing down the plant.
Kristín Ólafsdóttir, an Associate Professor of Toxicology with the University of Iceland told RÚV that residents in the area have reason to be concerned about the high arsenic levels detected in the air, as arsenic exposure is known to cause lung cancer and skin cancer.
Ironically, the silicon plant was created to produce silicon needed in solar panels, meaning that creating clean energy in Iceland has so far been decidedly dirty.
United Silicon in Reykjanesbær has been dogged by complaints since it started up in November of last year, including an onslaught of complaints from local residents who reported respiratory problems such as burning sensations and irritation in their lungs.