Main findings and recommendations from the WHO Regional Office for Europe mission to Hungary

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The WHO Regional Office for Europe deployed an international team to Hungary from 12 to 16 October 2010 to support the Hungarian Government in dealing with the medium- and long-term health effects of the spill at the alumina plant Magyar Alumínium Zrt.Ajkai Timfoldgyar in the town of Ajka. The mission complemented the technical team of the European Union already on location, and in particular focused on public health aspects of the event. The team presented its preliminary findings and recommendations to the Hungarian Ministry of Natural Resources, to the National General Directorate for Disaster Management and representatives of the Hungarian Governmental Coordination Committee and to the National Institute of Environment and Health on Friday, 15 October 2010.

This report presents the findings and recommendations from the mission, addressing aspects related to protecting the health of residents, returning population and rescue workers during to recovery and rehabilitation operations, as well as in the medium and long term, with a special emphasis on monitoring of indoor and outdoor air quality; preserving and controlling the quality of drinking-water; monitoring soil quality and checking safety of locally produced food; completing the chemical characterization of representative samples of sludge; clarifying remaining uncertainties regarding the sludge
reservoirs. The report addresses also aspects related to transboundary aspects of the event, as well as to risk communication, and provides a set of practical recommendations for follow-up.