Health Minister: No long term effects on victims of toxic fumes

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad today said that those exposed to the hazardous fumes emanating from the toxic waste in Sungai Kim Kim will not suffer from long term chronic effects. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad today said that those exposed to the hazardous fumes emanating from the toxic waste in Sungai Kim Kim will not suffer from long term chronic effects. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

PASIR GUDANG, March 16 — Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad today said that those exposed to the hazardous fumes emanating from the toxic waste in Sungai Kim Kim will not suffer from long term chronic effects.

“I want to stress that what the victims experienced here is a case of acute exposure. This is different from chronic exposure where the victims will have continuous contact with a toxic substance over a long period of time,” he said.

Dzulkefly was commenting on the issue of long-term health effects to toxic substances during a press conference at the Ground Control Centre and medic base at the Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium here.

Also present was Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal and Johor Health Department director Dr Selahudden Abdul Aziz.

As a pro-active measure to allay fears, Dzulkefly said that the ministry would be conducting a long-term study on the victims affected by the toxic fume.

“Just in case, we have the database needed as the victims are already registered with the ministry.

“The monitoring is to see if the toxic fume exposure has brought about cancer or impacted the victim’s reproductive systems,” he said.

On the issue of cyanide found during the on-going cleaning operation, Dzulkefly confirmed that the agencies did find trace amounts of hydrogen cyanide.

“However, it is at a very low level, which is at five particles per million (ppm),” he said.

He added that such a find does not warrant an evacuation at the moment as the cleaning operation has progressed well.