Hungary Downplays Risk From Toxic Spill

10.08.10 | FL News Team

(Budapest) --  Hungary is downplaying concerns about a toxic spill that has left left five people dead, three missing and more than 150 injured.  Hungarian officials had warned the red, soupy mess that spilled from an alumina plant earlier this week could cause an "unprecedented ecological catastrophe" after reaching the Danube river yesterday.

Now, Hungary's interior minister says the pollution in the Danube shouldn't even be considered "real pollution" anymore.  Sandor Pinter told a news conference the pH of the Danube has fallen from a dangerously alkaline pH level of around nine to a normal level.  Pinter expects the toxic waste to become even more diluted as it spreads through the major European waterway.

However, the environmental group Greenpeace is still warning about possible contamination from dangerous chromium and arsenic pollutants.  The Danube river flows from Hungary to Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine.