Musings, politics and environmental issues

Archive for July, 2014

Fluoride levels high near Alcoa’s Fjardaal smelter third year running

For the third summer running, fluoride levels in grass near the Alcoa Fjardaal plant in Reydarfjordur, East Iceland, are too high for some herbivores, even though levels are within limits when measured as emissions coming from the plant. The levels are likely to increase, as fluoride levels in plants tend to increase over summer and these readings come from the first measurements of six over the coming summer.
In 2012, Alcoa said the high levels were due to faults in the pollution control equipment and monitoring equipment, but they were confident that the problem would not reoccur.
It did. In 2013 they blamed the weather.
Now, they say they are puzzled, and will get experts within and outside Iceland to look at the problem. In some areas, the levels are 50% more than at this time last year.
Excess fluoride is a problem for sheep and accumulates in bones and ligaments but not meat.
Meanwhile, people who grow their own vegetables are being advised to wash salad leaves and the leaves of leafy vegetables such as kale in order to reduce the fluoride content before eating them. Fluoride does not accumulate in flowers, fruit or roots.