The Health Ministry is avoiding answering questions on concerns raised last week by chemical expert Alfred Vella about food contamination resulting from fireworks.

His team at the University of Malta conducted studies over six years that revealed perchlorate, one of the more important chemicals used in fireworks, in certain crops grown in local fields, such as lettuce.

Times of Malta asked the ministry if the Environmental Health Directorate was concerned about the presence of perchlorate in food and whether it planned to look into the evidence.

It was also asked whether authorities believed any kind of remedial action was necessary to alleviate concerns.

The role of the Environmental Health Directorate, which falls under the Health Ministry, is to safeguard public health from adverse environmental effects.

The reply to daily reminders sent to the ministry was that information was still being collected. On Friday, the ministry eventually sent a paragraph as comment that failed to answer questions posed.

The ministry said that legislative amendments recently introduced were “a step in the right direction in addressing issues related to fireworks”.

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