Hungarian toxic sludge no threat to Austria, says minister

Social Democratic (SPÖ) Health Minister Alois Stöger has said Austrians are not at risk after hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of toxic mud flooded a rural area in bordering Hungary.The minister said today (Weds) he could not imagine dried sludge being carried into Austrian airspace by winds, adding that he did not see the possibility of a similar tragedy occurring in Austria since there were no comparable factories in the country.Dozens of people were hospitalised following the spill of poisonous spill from MAL AG’s Ajkai plant which is located just 60 kilometres from the Austrian-Hungarian border yesterday. The substance, a waste product in aluminum production, contains heavy metals and is toxic if ingested, according to Hungarian health officials.At least four local residents have died, while some reports suggest the number could already be much higher as several people have been reported as missing by their relatives.