A Greek expert has warned of the dangers to public health from the dust and toxic substances released by the deadly fire in Mati, eastern Attica on July 23.
Professor of Atmospheric Physics and geologist Christos Zerefos says that “suspended particles, asbestos, dioxins, and many other substances released from fire, which burned homes and vehicles, is particularly harmful to humans.”
A large amount of dust and toxic substances produced during the devastating fire has been trapped into “safe” spots that could be released by strong winds and inhaled.
The professor warns that the risks are particularly acute for vulnerable people, especially children and the elderly.
Many houses in Mati were built in the 1950s and 1960s with materials that today are deemed dangerous and thereby prohibited, such as asbestos, which is carcinogenic. If burned, asbestos should not be touched with bare hands.
Another example is the glass wool used in constructions. When burned, it becomes toxic. Other building materials can change consistency after combustion and become dangerous, too.
The fire in eastern Attica, one of the deadliest in the 21st century, claimed at least 96 lives and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.
Zerefos claims that conditions could return to some sort of normality by November when the rains will cleanse the atmosphere of the toxic substances.
Until then, he says, residents and visitors should at least wear protective masks.