Health calls for "immediate extinction" of fire in dumpster due to carcinogenic substances

Regional Health Delegate reacted to the air quality monitoring report commissioned by CCDR Algarve

The combustion in the plant continues – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação

The regional health delegate determined that the "immediate extinction" of the fire that is raging is necessary. for more than a month at a waste management center in Vale da Venda, in Loulé, due to the high levels of suspended particles and benzene detected in the air, which can cause serious health problems, including cancer and respiratory diseases.

In a statement to which the Sul Informação had access, Ana Cristina Guerreiro reveals that she determined «the implementation of measures and procedures with a view to the immediate extinguishing of the sources of the material currently burning in the facilities of the Company “Inertegarve, Lda. – Central de Gestão de RC&D“», following the analysis of an air quality monitoring report commissioned by the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR).

«On July 25, 2022, a joint visit was carried out by several entities, still without the presence of Health. On August 11, 2022, following complaints and telephone complaints from several citizens residing in the vicinity of the respective location, a joint visit was carried out on the initiative of the Health Authority and the GNR territorially competent, accompanied by other entities, resulting in the recognition of the suspected risk to Public Health and the urgent need to completely stop the outbreaks of combustion», states the health delegate.

This visit took place after the CCDR had suspended the activity license of the waste center.

It was therefore decided to carry out an analysis of the emissions from the fire that has been raging since July 14th at this waste management company, located in the heart of Mata do Ludo, close to the border between the municipalities of Loulé and Faro.


Ana Cristina Guerreiro, regional health delegate – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação (File)


The evaluation «contemplated the determination of the concentration of Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, Benzene, Suspended Particles in the Atmosphere (PM10 fraction), Ozone and Sulfur Dioxide, with values ​​above the indicative reference levels for the parameters Particles PM10 and Benzene»

In the first case, “the maximum daily value detected was 151μg/m3, with 4 exceedances and a daily base average value of 62μg/m3”, when the law stipulates that the limit value of PM10 in 24 hours is 50 μg/m3 .

The Regional Health Authority explains that exposure to particulate matter “contributes to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as lung cancer, and there is a close and quantitative relationship between exposure to high concentrations and increased mortality. or morbidity, both daily and over time.

With regard to benzene values, an average daily basis concentration of 21,6μg/m3 was detected, when average concentrations of benzene in ambient air in rural and urban areas are “in the order of 1 μg/m3 and 5-20 μg/m3, respectively, with inhalation being the dominant route of exposure to benzene in humans”.

Benzene is classified 'as a Group 1 carcinogen (highest level), although its overall effect on premature mortality is considered low. Human exposure to benzene has thus been associated with a range of acute and long-term adverse health effects and diseases, including neoplasms and haematological effects.'

It was the high value of particles and benzene detected, «higher than the indicative values ​​used by analogy as a reference, as well as other parameters not evaluated and that may be present» that Ana Cristina Guerreiro decreed that the fire must be put out as soon as possible. as quickly as possible.