Quality of water in toxic spill hit Hungary 'adequate': WHO

21st October 2010, Comments 0 comments

The quality of drinking water in the Hungarian area hit by a toxic spill is "adequate", the World Health Organization said Thursday, adding however that it must be continuously monitored.

"Importantly, the quality of drinking-water supplied to the affected areas has remained adequate and poses no health risk to the community," said the WHO following a mission to the site which ended on October 16.

"Continued monitoring of outdoor and indoor air, drinking water and the quality of soil and food production will remain essential to assess the risk of exposure, particularly to heavy metals, in the medium and long terms and to take action as required," it added.

The UN health agency said that as the sludge had receded and its pH decreased, the risk to health from contact "has been substantially reduced."

Contact, inhalation or ingestion of the contaminated mud should however be avoided, it said.

A reservoir of residue at an alumina plant near Ajka, 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Budapest, burst on October 4, sending a tidal wave of toxic sludge into the surrounding area.

The death toll from what officials described as Hungary's worst-ever chemical accident has since risen to nine and 150 people were injured.

© 2010 AFP

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