An air quality report commissioned by the Health Ministry on the massive Riverton dump fire has confirmed a suspicion held by many Jamaicans that the blaze was releasing harmful substances.
According to the release, samples taken between March 13-14 shows that air pollutants from the site had high levels of benzene along with other harmful substances.
Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen and long term exposure has been linked to leukemia and other cancers of blood forming organs.
According to the Observer, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse said the sampling for volatile organic compounds shows that benzene was at the highest level ever recorded by the ministry.
“The high level of benzene is directly attributed to the burning at the Riverton Disposal Site. We consider this a significant public health issue,” she said.
Long term exposure to benzene is described as exposure exposure for over one year according to the Centres for Disease Control, USA.