In Italy a cancer death on Tuesday (10 July), the third anniversary of the Seveso disaster, has revived fears of the insidious after effects of what's been dubbed 'Italy's Hiroshima'.
In Italy a cancer death on Tuesday (10 July), the third anniversary of the Seveso disaster, has revived fears of the insidious after effects of what's been dubbed 'Italy's Hiroshima'. Sixty-seven year-old Signor Michelangelo Policella of Seveso died after being treated for a lymphatic gland tumour. He had been in one of the worst contaminated areas during the disaster, and Signor Policella's doctor said he suspected dioxin poisoning.
SYNOPSIS: On the surface life goes on as usual in Seveso, which lies about 16 kilometres north of Milan.
There are few apparent signs of the disaster which struck on July 10th, 1976, when an accident at a local chemical plant released a cloud of poisonous dioxin over the town. Ten days had elapsed before the authorities gave an order to evacuate. By ??? hundreds of animals had died, crops had withered, and many people were suffering from an ugly rash. Since then most of Seveso has been resettled.
However nobody knows when this area, Zone A, will be re-opened. It was the area near the plant most contaminated by the dioxin leak, and even now only people wearing special clothing and masks are allowed in. People have been barred indefinitely from returning to home in the surrounding land.
Little is known about the long-term effects of dioxin on the human body and the people of Seveso have been subject to regular medical checks since the disaster. Chloracne burns such as these young girls suffered were a major problem, but modern techniques have done much to help the victims.
The local company responsible for the dioxin leak, the Icmesa Chemical Works, claims life is back to normal now in Seveso. It commissioned this film to illustrate its claims that the people of the town want to get on with their lives as before, without outsiders coming in to 'stir up trouble'.
But, others who have been dealing with the after effects of the leakage are more sceptical.
Tests show the poison is still present in Seveso, and doctors are concerned at an increase in the number of deformed children born in the area. They believe the after effects must still be after effects must still be stringently monitored.