Landfill fire out, but still smokingPOSTED: 04/19/16 5:42 PM
On Sunday afternoon, the smoldering landfill fire still sent toxic smoke towards residential areas. Photo Today / Hilbert Haar
St. Maarten News – The fire that broke out on the landfill on Friday afternoon may be “under control” but on Sunday afternoon the site was still emitting toxic smoke. That smoke contains dioxins, carcinogenic substances that could cause cancer but also a severe form of acne, known as chloracne. At high dose levels, dioxin could furthermore cause abnormalities to the enamel of children’s teeth; it could affect the central and peripheral nervous system, cause thyroid disorders, damage immune systems and cause endometriosis (tissue growth outside the uterus that could in turn lead to (chronic) pelvis pain and infertility) and – last but not least – diabetes.
High exposure to dioxins also changes the male/female birth ration in favor of females.
Significant is the observation that small concentrations of dioxins in water could accumulate to dangerously high levels, because the substance does not dissolve easily in water.
The Collective Prevention Services advised this weekend to people living downwind from the landfill fire to close their windows and doors. This is especially important for citizens with respiratory challenges like asthma and shortness of breath.
“The ministry is very much aware of the potentially negative impact that chemicals released into the air by the fire at the dump can have on the health of the population,” Minister Emil Lee (Public Health) said in a press statement.
For information call CPS 542 20 78 or 542 30 03.