The red mud accident in Ajka (Hungary): Characterization and potential health effects of fugitive dust

A. Gelencsér, Nóra Kováts, Beatrix Turóczi, Ágnes Rostási, A. Hoffer, Kornélia Imre, Ilona Nyiró-Kósa, Dorottya Csákberényi-Malasics, Ádám Tóth, Aladár Czitrovszky, A. Nagy, S. Nagy, András Ács, Anikó Kovács, Árpád Ferincz, Zsuzsanna Hartyáni, M. Pósfai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

109 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As a result of a tragic industrial accident, a highly alkaline red mud sludge inundated settlements and agricultural areas near Ajka, Hungary on October 4, 2010. One of the major concerns about the aftermaths of the accident is the potential health effects of vast amounts of fugitive dust from red mud sediment. Thus, we studied the chemical and physical properties of particles of red mud and its respirable fugitive dust, and performed toxicity measurements. Under unfavorable meteorological conditions dry red mud sediment could emit very high amounts of respirable alkaline particles into the air. The number size distribution of fugitive dust peaks above 1 μm aerodynamic diameter; therefore, its inhalation is unlikely to affect the deep regions of the lungs. No significant mineralogical or elemental fractionation was observed between the sediment and dust, with the major minerals being hematite, cancrinite, calcite, and hydrogarnet. Although the high resuspension potential and alkalinity might pose some problems such as the irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes, based on its size distribution and composition red mud dust appears to be less hazardous to human health than urban particulate matter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1608-1615
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2011

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Hungary
Dust
Accidents
accident
mud
Health
dust
Sediments
cancrinite
Urban Health
Occupational Accidents
Particulate Matter
Calcium Carbonate
Fractionation
Alkalinity
Sewage
resuspension
Respiratory System
hematite
Chemical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

The red mud accident in Ajka (Hungary) : Characterization and potential health effects of fugitive dust. / Gelencsér, A.; Kováts, Nóra; Turóczi, Beatrix; Rostási, Ágnes; Hoffer, A.; Imre, Kornélia; Nyiró-Kósa, Ilona; Csákberényi-Malasics, Dorottya; Tóth, Ádám; Czitrovszky, Aladár; Nagy, A.; Nagy, S.; Ács, András; Kovács, Anikó; Ferincz, Árpád; Hartyáni, Zsuzsanna; Pósfai, M.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 45, No. 4, 15.02.2011, p. 1608-1615.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gelencsér, A, Kováts, N, Turóczi, B, Rostási, Á, Hoffer, A, Imre, K, Nyiró-Kósa, I, Csákberényi-Malasics, D, Tóth, Á, Czitrovszky, A, Nagy, A, Nagy, S, Ács, A, Kovács, A, Ferincz, Á, Hartyáni, Z & Pósfai, M 2011, 'The red mud accident in Ajka (Hungary): Characterization and potential health effects of fugitive dust', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 1608-1615. https://doi.org/10.1021/es104005r
Gelencsér, A. ; Kováts, Nóra ; Turóczi, Beatrix ; Rostási, Ágnes ; Hoffer, A. ; Imre, Kornélia ; Nyiró-Kósa, Ilona ; Csákberényi-Malasics, Dorottya ; Tóth, Ádám ; Czitrovszky, Aladár ; Nagy, A. ; Nagy, S. ; Ács, András ; Kovács, Anikó ; Ferincz, Árpád ; Hartyáni, Zsuzsanna ; Pósfai, M. / The red mud accident in Ajka (Hungary) : Characterization and potential health effects of fugitive dust. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2011 ; Vol. 45, No. 4. pp. 1608-1615.
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