In a question submitted to the Assembly of the Republic, deputy Mariana Silva said that conducting this study for former workers and their families is essential, because the uranium mining activity "left a heavy liability, with risks to both the environment and public health that can last over a prolonged period of time, given the radioactive potential of this ore ".
ENU, which was based in Urgeiriça (Canas de Senhorim), in the municipality of Nelas, was responsible for decades for the exploitation of uranium mines in Portugal.
Mariana Silva recalls that, within the scope of the OE 2020, at the proposal of the Ecologist Os Verdes Party (ENP), the Government was tasked with carrying out this study, taking into account the serious illnesses affecting former ENU workers and their families, such as malignant neoplasms.
"In October 2020, as there was no development of the study, the ENP asked the Ministry of Health for clarification on the situation, however, the question remained unanswered by the Government", she laments.
As the epidemiological study did not progress, the ENP again presented the proposal under the OE 2021, which was approved, she added.
In this context, and despite the fact that during the last year, the Ministry of Health's focus has been on responding to Covid-19, "it is also necessary to direct efforts to respond to other diseases, but also to act ahead of time in order to prevent and to detect diseases at a previous stage, avoiding irreversible damage to health ", said the deputy.
Mariana Silva wants the Ministry of Health to clarify whether "it has already started carrying out this epidemiological study" and, if so, how far along this has got.
"If it has not yet started, when does the Government intend to start this epidemiological study", she asks.
ENU was responsible of the exploitation of uranium mines in Portugal since 1977. The company went into liquidation in 2001 and closed definitively at the end of 2004.