People living near the AVR waste incinerator in Rotterdam have been urged not to eat eggs from local chickens and to wash fruit and veg from their own gardens carefully because of the risk of consuming dioxins.
Scientific analysis has shown that dioxins are present in soot from the blaze which has been deposited over parts of Vlaardingen and Maassluis in particular.
Public health institute RIVM has now launched an investigation and livestock farmers in the area have been told to keep their animals indoors.
The local health board says tests so far show that the limits for dioxin on meadows have been exceeded and by “such a large margin” there is a risk that this could also have happened further afield.
New tests are now being done on an area up to 12 kilometres away from the plant and the results are due at the end of the week.
Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, and damage to the immune system. They accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals