Since the eruption of the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano, areas which lie south of the source of the lava spewing from the earth have become caked with a layer of grey ash which has reached almost four inches thick in some areas. Farmers in these southern Iceland areas are4 now frantically racing to protect their herds from the poison which is in this volcanic dust.

Those farm animals, as well as the creatures of the wild in Iceland are in danger of fluoride poisoning if they ingest, or inhale the ash. This type of poisoning leads to internal bleeding, long term damage to bones, and teeth loss. The sheep, cattle, horses and other farm animals were rushed into shelters after they were lost in the volcanic ash fog which was the result of the erupting volcano nearby. Aside from the thick coating along the ground and in the pastures, the ponds have turned to cement life mud and the geese, and other birds are having a hard time flying die to the ash which has caked up on their wings. Basically, in Iceland, the earth is contaminated.

“The risk is of fluoride poisoning if they breathe or eat too much,” Berglind Hilmarsdottir, a dairy farmer from Nupur, told the AP news agency through a protective white dust mask. The fluoride in the ash is said to create acids in the stomach, which corrodes the intestines and causing internal bleeding. After binding with the calcium in the bloodstream, the bones can start to become frail, and teeth start crumbling in a matter of days. “The best we can do is put them in the barn, block all the windows, and bring them clean food and water as long as the earth is contaminated,” Ms Hilmarsdottir said.

All of this is the preliminary problems which the animals will have if contaminated for too long. What has yet to be reported is the potential harm that will come to humans who ingest these animals after they have been exposed to the fluoride poisoning, even for little periods of time. Studies may be released at a later date as to whether or not this is a possible risk.