A képen tenyérbe csöpögő eső látható

Substance harmful to human foetus detected in groundwater in Győr, Hungary

An NGO, thanks to fundraising, was able to assess the quality of groundwater in Győr. It turned out they had good reasons to be concerned. During the examination in Győr-Győrszentiván in March, independent, accredited experts measured high levels of lithium and detected a substance that is harmful to the human foetus. The evaluation of the results has just been completed. The results reflect the current conditions in the groundwater in Győr; the experts recommended regular monitoring of the groundwater because of the health and environmental risks it may pose to citizens.

There are particularly dangerous factories planned to be constructed in Győr-Győrszentiván, and Szívügyünk Szentiván Civil Movement was able to have the investigation done after they had organized a fundraising campaign in autumn 2022. The purpose of their call was to provide residents with authentic information about air quality based on a two-week-long air pollution measurement, which was repeated four times. The fundraising was successful, more than HUF 16 million was collected, which made it possible for the NGO to have the quality of not only the air but also the groundwater tested with the help of experts.

During a thorough prep work, three sites where the accredited groundwater sampling would take place at the end of March 2023, were defined. The tests had two goals, on the one hand, to determine the general values ​​characterizing the quality of groundwater, and on the other hand, to check the possible effects that an industrial activity may cause to groundwater near an inhabited area. So they started with a baseline survey. The expert opinion was completed at the end of May 2023. The presence of two substances caused surprise and at the same time concern. Those two substances were actually included among the components to be measured only for the purpose of documenting the basic state.

The concentration of lithium in the tested samples was between 262 and 614 μg/l. There is no regulation on the permissible amount of lithium and it can also occur naturally in groundwaters. The report entitled “Hungary’s drinking water quality, 2020” published by the National Center for Public Health aims to do the examination of the natural elements present in water resources, on the national level. According to the report, between 2016 and 2018, the typical value of lithium was 9.8 μg/l. Compared to which, the values ​​in Győr-Győrszentivány are significantly higher!

Bórax, bórsav – két ökonak gondolt káros anyag

The other substance that was present in the water is NMP. The appearance of this compound cannot be explained by natural causes. Its health effects include skin and eye irritation, reproductive toxicity, and it has a fetal harm effect. It is commonly used as a solvent in various industries, such as petrochemical and surface treatment technologies, as well as in the pharmaceutical industry. Its concentration in Győr-Győrszentiván was between 2 and 10 μg/l – as it reads on the website of the NGO.

It’s important to note that, based on the three measurement points, the groundwater flows from South to North, i.e. in the direction of the Danube. In the case of lithium and NMP, the value was the highest at the southernmost point – in the water sample closest to the current industrial park – and showed a decrease moving north.

Based on the results of the performed laboratory tests, the values ​​of none of the components in the sampling holes exceeded the “B” pollution limit defined in the joint decree of KvVM-EüM-FVM of 6/2009. (IV. 14.). However, the concentration of boron, molybdenum and toluene are close to the limit value at some points, which is an important information item to understand better the current situation.

According to the expert report, in the case of the detected lithium and NMP, in accordance with the provisions of the relevant law and government decree, it would be advisable to investigate the reasons for the presence of these substances through a detailed fact-finding.

Such a study should also include a human health risk analysis. Until the possible detailed investigation is carried out,

according to the experts who evaluated the measurement results, it would be reasonable to establish 2-3 permanent groundwater monitoring wells between the residential area and the industrial park

so that temporal and spatial changes in the concentration of substances dissolved in the groundwater can be monitored.

Due to the detection of NMP, the Szentiváni Öko Szeglet Egyesület submitted a public interest data request to the competent government office to find out which companies are currently using this solvent in the industrial park. In order to investigate the case, they plan to take further steps, among other things, they will contact the local government in order to implement the suggestions of the experts – as soon as possible.

Photo: canva.com

green and safe lifestylesThis content was realized in the framework of the Green&Safe LIFE-styles project, supported by the LIFE fund of the European Union. Identifier: ENV GIE HU000622 Green&Safe LIFE-styles

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