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Health Risks of 1992 Airplane Crash in Amsterdam

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In May 1998, the Dutch government asked RIVM to make an assessment of the human exposure that could have resulted from the 1992 airplane crash in Amsterdam. The request was prompted by persistent health complaints of the bystanders of the crash. Starting point of the health risk assessment was the latest version of the list of Airway Cargo Bills. In addition to this , the amount of kerosine at the moment of the crash was calculated and the quantity of depleted uranium that was not recovered after the crash. These data were completed with an estimate of the amount of synthetics, heavy metals and flame retardants in the plane. After dispersion-modelling it was concluded that environmental concentrations immediately following the crash could have resulted in acute effects, like irritation of eyes and bronchi , but that no persistent health complaints had to be expected. There was however an increased risk to develop cancer as a result of the exposure. For depleted uranium this amounted to 1 additional case of cancer per 1 x 109 persons exposed and for PAH's and heavy metals to 1 - 2 additional cases of cancer per 1 x 104 persons exposed. Caution is needed in interpreting these data, due to the lack of measurements in the acute phase and the long period between exposure and the study.

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