Supermarket floor fumes hospitalise 43

Dozens of people have been hospitalised in Greenland after inhaling toxic fumes from a supermarket floor. Of the 43 people taken to hospital in Maniitsoq, western Greenland, four are said to be seriously ill.

According to Greenland Radio, workmen and personnel at the co-operative supermarket became ill after breathing in gases from a silicon solution that had been used to renew the shop floor. Those in need of urgent medical attention were seen to in Maniitsoq by personnel specially flown in from the Dronning Ingrid Hospital in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk.

According to hospital staff, the symptoms are not thought to be life threatening but the situation can become serious if patients are not treated. The Toxicity Centre in Denmark, which has been advising health authorities in Greenland, said inhaling such fumes can lead to high temperatures, breathing difficulties and chemical pneumonia, adding that patients should be treated with penicillin and an inhalator.

Some patients may be sent to Iceland if the hospital in Nuuk finds it cannot handle all 43.