A delayed report into the health effects of municipal waste incinerators is not expected until 2017, more than two years after the original planned release date.
The Public Health England (PHE)-funded study investigating a potential link between emissions from incinerators and health outcomes was launched in January 2012, with results initially slated for March 2014. But the report has yet to emerge.
In June, the then health minister Jane Ellison said in the House of Commons that papers from the project would be submitted by Imperial College London’s Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) for peer review “later in 2016”.
Now, in a written answer in the Commons, health minister Nicola Blackwood (pictured) has announced a revised timetable.
“It is expected that papers from the project will be submitted by the SAHSU to peer-reviewed journals in spring 2017, and papers to be published later in the year,” she said.
Blackwood made her comments on behalf of health secretary Jeremy Hunt in response to a question from Labour MP Derek Twigg.
The study, to which King’s College London’s Environmental Research Group is also contributing, is examining evidence from 22 energy-from-waste plants across the UK.
It will examine the risk to all congenital anomalies, including separate analysis of subsets such as cleft lip, cleft palate, major heart defects, respiratory defects and anomalies of the neural tube, abdominal wall or urinary tract.
Two papers have been published from the study so far: one on modelling exposures and the other about metal emissions from incinerators in 2015.
The latest one found no evidence of a harmful emission of metals from most incinerators.