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Emission and dispersion of fluorides

Emissies en verspreiding van fluoriden


Industrial fluoride emissions to air and surface waters in the Netherlands have diminished greatly between 1985 and 2008, and, therefore, so have the concentration levels in the atmosphere, rainwater and grass. Current emission and concentration levels in the atmosphere are of no consequence to human health, but may affect certain crops and cattle breeds. The extent of the resulting possible damage to crops and livestock is unknown. These are the results from research on industrial emission and dispersion of fluorides, conducted by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) by the order of the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM). Dutch industrial fluoride emissions to air and surface waters in 2008 diminished by 55 and 95 per cent, respectively, from 1985 levels. In the early 1990s, in an agreement with the Dutch Government, the industrial sector committed to reduce the emissions of various compounds. The indicative target of reducing fluoride emissions by 99 per cent by 2010 will not be achieved. Unless very costly measures are introduced, fluoride emissions are not expected to reduce any further below current levels. Fluorides are being emitted mainly by the ceramic industry, the glass industry, the base metal industry and by coal-fired power plants. In the Netherlands, fluoride concentrations in the atmosphere, rainwater and grass have been greatly reduced. Background concentration levels in the atmosphere more or less meet environmental quality standards. However, in the vicinity of companies that emit large amounts of fluoride, emissions exceed these standards. In surface waters and soil, concentration levels in nearly all of the Netherlands are within environmental quality standards. In the Netherlands, various methods are used for measuring fluoride concentrations in the atmosphere. Comparative research of these methods is required in order to improve determination of concentration levels.

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