Haskovo Water Doesn't Pose Health Risk - Minister

Haskovo Water Doesn't Pose Health Risk - Minister

Haskovo Water Doesn't Pose Health Risk - Minister

Sofia, April 21 (BTA) - Responding to public concerns over elevated uranium levels in drinking water in the southern town of Haskovo, Health Minister Ilko Semerdjiev Friday said in Parliament there was no health risk.

On April 4, the Environment and Water Ministry warned the Regional Health Inspectorate about elevated uranium content and alpha particles in some pipe wells in Haskovo, and the operation of four water abstraction facilities was suspended.

Semerdjiev said more conservative standards for natural uranium had been phased in in Bulgaria since 2011. At present, the maximum permissible level is 0.03 mg/litre. Short-term use of water with an elevated uranium content does not pose an immediate health risk, he said.

The ministries of health care, of regional development and of the environment are drawing up an interim report with recommendations for more stringent checks and control of water sources, especially those near closed uranium mines.

On April 20, the Center for Risk Assessment along the Food Chain and the National Center of Public Health and Analyses were asked to collect data for analysis of the incidence and morbidity rates for kidney disease and cancer. Currently, the health authorities in Haskovo are implementing all the recommendations for health protection. The local water and sewerage company supplies water with controlled quality from a safe source in regularly disinfected containers.

Experts from the World Health Organization have been invited to assess the situation and provide technical assistance, as well as to suggest long-term solutions.

Source: Sofia