Airshed UPL report 'to serve as guide for epidemiological study'

Airshed UPL report 'to serve as guide for epidemiological study'

UPL South Africa says a recent report on the atmospheric impact caused by the blaze at the Cornubia factory last year will be used as part of an epidemiological study. 

UPL Chemical Plant in Cornubia burning factory Durban SA Unrest 2
Nokukhanya N Mntambo

This after a report by Airshed Planning Professionals revealed that residents in the entire Durban North area were exposed to at least 62 toxic chemicals, present in the smoke from the burning warehouse in July. 

UPL SA says the very specific report is based on a predicted worst-case scenario, as they could not carry out tests during the cause of the blaze, and had to use a number of calculated assumptions. 

Spokesperson Japhet Ncube says they also commissioned Airshed to compile a report as part of its efforts to assess the impact of the incident.

"The report models the worst outcome with the ultimate aim of identifying the areas in which humans may have been most impacted, which would then inform the epidemiological study. 

"The last step in the process is to conduct the epidemiological study itself. That will consist of detailed medical testing of individuals within the predicted impact zones to determine whether the chemicals of concern have had, or are in the future likely to have an effect on human health. 

"The results of that study will inform medical interventions and monitoring into the future." 

Meanwhile, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance's Desmond D'sa says the most-affected residents are still not happy. 

"People are really angry. The fisherfolk are angry because their livelihoods have been curtailed. They have not been fishing now and putting food on the table. 

“For nearly a year this company has not come to compensate anyone and neither has government supported them, so I think people are really angry and they want justice to be done. 

"The company should be brought before a court of law, of they are not forced to put in a huge amount of money for future reparations and health impacts they must be held accountable right now." 


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