Ash fall in Iceland could contaminate drinking water: experts

Apr 16, 2010
Volcanic scientists leave the area after collecting samples of ash to send to labs to analyze its content, in eastern Iceland. The fallout of volcanic ash over parts of Iceland could jeopardise the safety of drinking water, health authorities warned Friday, but said the greatest health risk was to livestock.

The fallout of volcanic ash over parts of Iceland could jeopardise the safety of drinking water, health authorities warned Friday, but said the greatest health risk was to livestock.

"It is important to prevent the ash from reaching , both for public and animal health reasons and for safe milk production," Halldor Runolfsson of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority told AFP.

His colleague Guthjon Gunnarsson said the agency was evaluating the quality of drinking water, which was mostly protected because it came from under ground.

"Here in Iceland the (drinking) water is mostly so it is rather difficult for ash to heavily pollute it," he said.

But Runolfsson said the blast -- which covered large areas in a thin layer of -- mostly posed a health risk to Livestock because the ash contained high levels of fluoride.

"Farmers are advised to keep their livestock indoors," he said. "Intake of fluoride is known to cause problems in bones and teeth, Especially in growing animals. The ash can also ... cause problems in (animal's) respiratory and digestive systems," he said.

"We are first and foremost looking at the quantity of the fluoride," Gunnarsson said.

The concentration of fluoride near the volcano was of 23 to 35 milligrams per kilogramme of ash.

Iceland's second in less than a month began under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in the south of the country at around 1:00 am (GMT) Wednesday.

It has since then continuously spewed a 6.0-kilometer (3.7-mile) plume of volcano ash into the sky, sending a giant cloud of ash towards Europe and prompting the continent's biggest air travel shutdown since World War II.

Explore further: Older women restrict driving more than older men

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UN health agency: Fallen volcano ash a health risk

Apr 16, 2010

(AP) -- Europeans should try to stay indoors if ash from Iceland's volcano starts settling, the World Health Organization warned Friday as small amounts of ash fell in Iceland, Scotland and Norway.

New satellite image of volcanic ash cloud

Apr 15, 2010

This image, acquired today by ESA's Envisat satellite, shows the vast cloud of volcanic ash sweeping across the UK from the eruption in Iceland, more than 1000 km away.

Icelandic volcanoes can be unpredictable and dangerous

Apr 16, 2010

If history is any indication, the erupting volcano in Iceland and its immense ash plume could intensify, says a Texas A&M University researcher who has explored Icelandic volcanoes for the past 25 years.

Recommended for you

Older women restrict driving more than older men

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Older women restrict their driving activity more than older men, regardless of physical health or cognitive status, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of th ...

Alcohol apps aimed at young

10 hours ago

Apps with names like 'Let's get Wasted!' and 'Drink Thin' have led a James Cook University Professor to call for Government action on alcohol advertising on mobile devices.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jsa09
not rated yet May 06, 2010
Intake of fluoride is known to cause problems in bones and teeth, Especially in growing animals.


In here where I live the state has decided to add Fluoride to the tap water so we will be forced to either drink it or install our own rain water tanks.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.