“The toxic waste will be diluted in the Black Sea but will nonetheless still pose risks. Starting from the northern coast where the Danube River meets the sea, the spill will particularly affect the coasts of our western Black Sea region,” Yorulmaz -- who is the head of the public health department at the university -- said in an interview with the Anatolia news agency.
The spill first engulfed several villages in the area and then reached the Danube River, which flows into the Black Sea, with which Turkey has its longest coast. Named for its bright red color, the material is a waste product in aluminum production that contains heavy metals and is toxic if ingested. Yorulmaz said some statements were made in regard to non-toxic levels of mercury and heavy metals, but no one discussed what to do with the 50 tons of arsenic and 300 tons of chromium contained in the waste as Greenpeace suggested earlier. He cautioned that the toxic materials are also mixing into the air via dust and pose a major health risk for humans. “If the toxin inside the dust is taken inside body, it is said that it may cause apical pneumonia and even lung cancer after many years,” he said.