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Concentration of Fluoride in vegetation (including ruminant forage) at designated sample plots within a specified radius of smelter.
Figure 1. The division of sampling points into five different areas (Landmælingar Íslands, 2013 and 2015).

Figure 1. The division of sampling points into five different areas (Landmælingar Íslands, 2013 and 2015).

Labels: Hólmanes reserve (Friðlandið Hólmanesi), Dilution area (þynningarsvæði), Urban area (Þéttbýlið), Grazing area and fields north of Sléttuá river (Beitarsvæði og tún norðan Sléttuár), Grazing area and fields south of Sléttuá river (Beitarsvæði og tún sunnan Sléttuár).

Updated: May 15, 2020
Source: Alcoa Fjarðaál (2020)


Results 2004-2005 and 2014-2019

Fluoride in grass
Figure 2. Average concentration of fluoride (µg/g) in dry weight of grass (with standard error) in different areas in Reyðarfjörður in 2004 - 2005 (baseline, average of two samples taken, one each year) and 2014 - 2019. Number of sampling sites: Number of sampling sites: 2004 - 2005 (n-30), 2014 - 2016 (n-34) and 2017-2019 (n-35).

Figure 2. Average concentration of fluoride (µg/g) in dry weight of grass (with standard error) in different areas in Reyðarfjörður in 2004 - 2005 (baseline, average of two samples taken, one each year) and 2014 - 2019. Number of sampling sites: Number of sampling sites: 2004 - 2005 (n-30), 2014 - 2016 (n-34) and 2017-2019 (n-35).

Labels: Within dilution area (innan þynningarsvæðis), urban area (þéttbýli), Hólmanes reserve (Hólmanes friðland), grazing land and hayfield south (Beitarsvæði og tún, sunnan) and grazing land and hayfield north (Beitarsvæði og tún, norðan).

Note, the sampling sites were changed in 2013 and 2014; 11 sites were added in 2013, 7 sites removed in 2014 and one place added in 2017.

Updated: May 15, 2020
Source:
Alcoa Fjarðaál (2020)


Sulphur in grass
Figure 3. Average level of sulphur (mg/g) in dry weight of grass from 30 sites in Reyðarfjörður in the years 2004 (background level), 2005, 2007-2010 and 2015. The sampling sites are grouped by direction and distance from smelter's chimney. East (E), west (W) and south (S). Number of samples is given in parenthesis. The bars are the standard error of the average, showing the variability between sampling sites.

Figure 3. Average level of sulphur (mg/g) in dry weight of grass from 30 sites in Reyðarfjörður in the years 2004 (background level), 2005, 2007-2010 and 2015. Number of samples is given in parenthesis. The bars are the standard error of the average, showing the variability between sampling sites.

Monitored every five years. Next monitoring in 2020.

Updated: September 19, 2017
Source: Alcoa Fjarðaál (2017)


Fluoride in moss
Figure 4. Distribution pattern of fluoride in moss (µg/g) the year 2004 (background level) and 2014- 2019. Directions: A: East, V: West and S: South and distance (km) from smelter chimney. Number of samples is displayed in parenthesis. Standard error of the average is also shown.

Figure 4. Distribution pattern of fluoride in moss (µg/g) the year 2004 (background level) and 2014- 2019. Directions: A: East, V: West and S: South and distance (km) from smelter chimney. Number of samples is displayed in parenthesis. Standard error of the average is also shown.

Updated: May 15, 2020
Source: Alcoa Fjarðaál (2020)


Fluoride in lichens
Figure 5.  Distribution pattern of fluoride in lichens (µg/g) from the year 2004 (background level) and 2014 -2019. Direction: A-East, V-West and S-South and distance from smelter chimney. Number of samples is given in parenthesis. Standard error of the average is also shown.

Figure 5.  Distribution pattern of fluoride in lichens (µg/g) from the year 2004 (background level) and 2014 -2019. Direction: A-East, V-West and S-South and distance from smelter chimney. Number of samples is given in parenthesis. Standard error of the average is also shown.

Updated: May 15, 2020
Source: Alcoa Fjarðaál (2020)


Fluoride in leaves of bog bilberries
Figure 6. Distribution pattern of fluoride (µg/g) in leaves of bog bilberries from the year 2004 (background level) and 2014 - 2019. Directions: A-East, V-West and S-South and distance (km) from smelter chimney. Number of samples is given in parenthesis. Standard error of the average is also shown.

Figure 6. Distribution pattern of fluoride (µg/g) in leaves of bog bilberries from the year 2004 (background level) and 2014 - 2019. Directions: A-East, V-West and S-South and distance (km) from smelter chimney. Number of samples is given in parenthesis. Standard error of the average is also shown.

Updated: May 15, 2020
Source: Alcoa Fjarðaál (2020)


Fluoride in leaves of rowan
Figure 7. Annual average of fluoride (µg/g) in leaves of rowan (with standard error) in the year 2004 (background level) and 2014-2019 in Reyðarfjörður. The data is based on 10 samples in the years 2004, 2015 and 2017 and 9 samples in the years 2014, 2016 and 2019.

Figure 7. Annual average of fluoride (µg/g) in leaves of rowan (with standard error) in the year 2004 (background level) and 2014-2019 in Reyðarfjörður. The data is based on 10 samples in the years 2004, 2015 and 2017 and 9 samples in the years 2014, 2016 and 2019.

Updated: May 15, 2020
Source: Alcoa Fjarðaál (2020)


Fluoride in coniferous leaves
Figure 8. Annual average of fluoride (µg/g) in coniferous leaves (with standard error) in the year 2004 (background level) and 2014-2019 in Reyðarfjörður. The data is based on 10 samples in the year 2004 and 10 samples in the years 2014 - 2019. The year on the horizontal axis is a reference to the sampling year.

Figure 8. Annual average of fluoride (µg/g) in coniferous leaves (with standard error) in the year 2004 (background level) and 2014-2019 in Reyðarfjörður. The data is based on 10 samples in the year 2004 and 10 samples in the years 2014 - 2019. The year on the horizontal axis is a reference to the sampling year.

Labels
Nývöxtur:
New growth
Vöxtur fyrra árs:
Previous year growth

Updated: May 15, 2020
Source: Alcoa Fjarðaál (2020)


Fluoride in bog bilberries and northern crow-berries
Figure 9. Concentration of fluoride in bog bilberries and northern crow-berries (µg/g) in 5 sampling sites in Reyðarfjörður in the summer 2019. One sample was taken on each sampling site.

Figure 9. Concentration of fluoride in bog bilberries and northern crow-berries (µg/g) in 5 sampling sites in Reyðarfjörður in the summer 2019. One sample was taken on each sampling site.

Labels:

Bláber: bog bilberries
Krækiber: northern crowberries
Vegir: roads
Þynningarsvæði skv. starfsleyfi: dilution area according to business license
Þéttbýli: urban area
Álverssvæði: smelter site
Friðlandið Hólmanesi: Hólmanes reserve


Fluoride in northern crow-berries
Figure 10. Concentration of fluoride (µg/g) in dry weight of northern crowberries from 5 sampling sites in Reyðarfjörður 2006 and 2014-2019. Untill the year 2011, the limit of analytical determination for fluoride in northern crowberries was 5 µg/g.

Figure 10. Concentration of fluoride (µg/g) in dry weight of northern crowberries from 5 sampling sites in Reyðarfjörður 2006 and 2014-2019. Untill the year 2011, the limit of analytical determination for fluoride in northern crowberries was 5 µg/g.


Fluoride in bog bilberries
Mynd 11. Styrkur flúors (µg/g) í þurrvigt af bláberjum árin 2006 og 2014-2019 í Reyðarfirði. Fram til ársins 2011 voru greiningarmörk fyrir flúor í bláberjum 5 µg/g.

Figure 11. Concentration of fluoride in dry weight of bog bilberries the year 2006 and 2014 - 2019 in Reyðarfjörður. Untill the year 2011, the limit of analytical determination for fluoride in northern crowberries was 5 µg/g.

Updated: May 15, 2020
Source: Alcoa Fjarðaál (2020)


Fluoride in rhubarb
Figure 12. Annual average concentration of fluoride (µg/g) in dry weight of rhubarb 2004-2005 (background level, the average of both years) and 2014-2019 in Reyðarfjörður. Number of samples is given in brackets. Also shown is the standard error of the average. During the years 2004 and 2005 one sampling tour was taken and the years 2014-2019 three sampling tours were taken.

Figure 12. Annual average concentration of fluoride (µg/g) in dry weight of rhubarb 2004-2005 (background level, the average of both years) and 2014-2019 in Reyðarfjörður. Number of samples is given in brackets. Also shown is the standard error of the average. During the years 2004 and 2005 one sampling tour was taken and the years 2014-2019 three sampling tours were taken.

Labels
Stilkar: Stalks
Lauf: Leaves


Fluoride in potatoes
Mynd 13. Styrkur flúoríðs í kartöflum og kartöflugrösum á þremur söfnunarstöðum sumrin 2004 og 2014 til 2019.

Figure 13. Concentration of fluoride (µg/g) in potatoes (kartafla) and potato leafs (lauf) from three sampling sites in the summers 2004 and 2014 - 2019.

Labels:
Kartafla: potato
Lauf: leafs

Older images in PDF

Updated: May 15, 2020
Source: Alcoa Fjarðaál (2020)

Metrics, Targets and Monitoring Protocol

What is measured?

Concentration of F in vegetation (including ruminant forage) at designated sample plots within a specified radius of smelter (Project effect: direct)

Monitoring Protocol

Sýni tekin á skilgreindum stöðum á vaxtartímabili:

  1. 40 samples of coniferous leaves, broadleaves, vegetables and vegetable leaves collected in Reyðarfjörður (ten samples for each vegetation type) and analyzed for F, N, S and heavy metals
  2. 30 samples of forage grass collected in Reyðarfjörður and analyzed for F and S/N ratio
  3. Mosses, lichens, and broadleaf plant collected from 30 stations and analyzed for F
  4. Lichen on rock photographed at 50 locations in Reyðarfjörður
  5. Ecological survey:
    1. Vegetative species composition and vegetation cover (%) recorded in 150 vegetation quadrats in 30 sample stations around Reydarfjorduri
    2. Quadrats photographed.
  6. Vegetation in Reyðarfjörður visually inspected for fluoride impact.

Data collection:

  1. Baseline sampling conducted from 2004 - 2005
  2. Lichen (plots) and vegetation quadrats photographed annually from 2004 - 2008
  3. Vegetation visually inspected once a year from 2004 - 2008
  4. 2007 and 2008 samples collected every month during the growing season for up to six months:
    1. 30 each for moss, lichens, broadleaves and forage grass
    2. 10 each for conifer (previous year growth), 10 conifer (new growth), broadleaf tree tissue and vegetable
  5. 2007 and 2008 ecological survey in 150 quadrats.
Targets
  1. Coniferous leaves, broadleaves, and vegetables: >0.4 µg/m3
  2. Grasses: >3 µg/m3
  3. Lichens & Mosses: >0.3 µg/m3

Source: AW Davidson and L. Weinstein; EIA, 2001

Possible countermeasures

Alcoa Fjarðaál has direct effect by its operations. Targets are set to be met.
See more:

Changes of indicator

The original metric was „Concentration of F (µg/kg-DW) in vegetation (ruminant forage and berries) at designated sample plots within a specified radius of smelter“. Based on expert consultation (Alan W. Davison & Len H. Weinstein) measuring unit and berries was removed from metric. The changed metric is: „Concentration of F in vegetation (including ruminant forage) at designated sample plots within a specified radius of smelter


This indicator was originally number 21.1. It was then named Fluoride in Vegetation and can be found under that number in documents of the project from 2005 and 2006.

The indicator number has been changed twice.

Table 2. Changes to name and number of indicator
Year Nr. Indicator name
2020 2.6.1 Fluoride in Vegetation
2007 2.27 Fluoride in Vegetation

Baseline

The background level of fluoride in vegetation varies with soil, species, type of leaf, age and the presence of natural sources of fluoride such as dust. It is therefore impossible to state precise background concentrations of fluoride. However, the scientific literature shows that most samples are <5 μg F/ g (dry wt), a proportion may have up to 10 and some may have as high as 20 or so μg F/ g. Fruit, stalks and roots have much lower fluoride content than leaves.

Table 2. Baseline for fluoride in vegetation, 2004 og 2005.
Sample Number of analysed samples Number of samples with

Maximum F content

2004

  F < 5 μg/g 6-10 μg/g 11-20 μg/g μg/g
Conifer (Pinus, Picea)          
Current year 10 10 0 0 <3
Previous year 10 10 0 0 4
Broadleaf tree (rowan, Sorbus aucuparia) 10 9 0 0 21
Vegetables          
Strawberry fruit 1 0 1 0 10
Strawberry leaves 2 1 1 0 6
Rhubarb stalks 4 4 0 0 <3
Rhubarb leaves 4 0 0 2 94
Potato tubers 5 5 0 0 <3
Potato leaves 5 2 1 2 16

Grass

30 29 1 0 6

2005

         
Broadleaf, wild species 30 28 1 1 11
Vegetables          
Rhubarb Stalks 10 10 0 0 <5
Rhubarb leaves 10 2 0 3 111
Potato leaves 2 1 1 0 6
Grass 30 25 5 0 10
Moss 30 12 12 5 29
Lichen 30 26 4 0 8

Interpretation

Most analyses fell within the expected range for background samples. One sample of rowan, most rhubarb leaves (not stalks, the edible part) and some moss samples contained higher fluoride concentrations than expected. One sample of strawberry fruit had slightly higher fluoride content than expected and so did some potato leaves. These deviations were investigated in 2004 and 2005 and it was concluded that:

  1. The slightly high fluoride concentration in the strawberry fruit and potato leaves was probably due to dust / soil contamination. Washing fruit usually removes this material.
  2. The one high rowan sample was due to contamination from burning waste near sampling site.
  3. The high fluoride concentrations in rhubarb leaves were due to the fact that it is one of a small number of species that can accumulate fluoride from the soil. This was not previously known. Note that the edible stalks had low fluoride contents.
  4. The elevated fluoride in the moss samples correlated with the presence of sources of dust from construction and roads (all dust and soil debris contains measurable amounts of fluoride).

Rationale for Indicator Selection

Fluoride can adversely affect the growth and vitality of vegetation. Fluoride emitted from the Fjarðaál smelter could accumulate in vegetation in the immediate vicinity of the smelter. Communities in East Iceland are concerned about the changes in their ecosystem if fluoride emissions exceed the tolerance threshold of local plants. Fluoride can directly impact vegetation and could cause the localized extirpation of sensitive floral species. Fluoride accumulation is also hazardous to grazing mammals. Vegetation could accumulate fluorides in concentrations that are hazardous to herbivorous mammals, and this in turn could influence humans if they eat those mammals.

From phase I/II report on indicators and baseline from April 2005

Further reading

Vísir 2.6.1 - Flúor - Eldri myndir

Vísir 2.6.1 - Flúor - Eldri myndir

2020

Samantekt á gögnum fyrir vísinn 2.6.1 

You can view more material related to the indicator by clicking on the link above.