John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


The fire at the Lubrizol factory. Overview of the actions by Anses Volume 20, issue 2, March-April 2021


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Chef du service de toxicologie
Institut Pasteur de Lille
1, rue du professeur Calmette
59000 Lille
* Tirés à part

After the enormous fire that raged throughout the night of September 25-26, 2019 at the Lubrizol site (Rouen, France), a plant classified as a “high-threshold Seveso”, which produces industrial chemicals as additives for a variety of oils, a plume of smoke formed in the region and moved in a northeast trajectory over a long distance. The rapidly implemented crisis management concentrated on two main elements: environment and health. Anses played a major role in the health aspect by publishing six opinions by the end of 2019. These collective studies showed that samples of agricultural produce and foodstuffs of animal origin did not exceed maximum regulatory limits, with the exception of lead in a few samples of vegetables and raw materials for animal food. Values were in ranges commonly found in monitoring and inspection plans with the exception of increased concentrations of dioxins, furans, and PCB-DL in eggs, corn, grass/hay/lucern silage, and feed corn. Overall, no correlation was found between the density of the soot deposits and concentrations of contaminants analyzed in the various samples, except for a trend of PCDD/F and PCB-DL in eggs. In water for human consumption, most of substances sought were not detected in the first samples taken. Only HAPs and certain perfluorinated compounds were quantified in a few rare catchment areas.

To ensure a lack of long-term risk, a long-term strategy to monitor significant substances was proposed for farm produce, foodstuffs of animal origin, and cattle food. For water for human consumption, a monitoring plan adjusted for substances to analyze, frequency and duration of sampling and covering a full annual cycle of groundwater recharge was also proposed for application until September 2020, corresponding to the end of the hydrological year.