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Incinerator health study delayed again

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.

Readers' comments (3)

  • The discovery of magnetite Nano particles in the brains of dementia patients has led some to conclude that the source was air pollution. French studies have revealed that for each PM 2.5 particle found in polluted air there are 200 Nano Particles. The news about ill health linked to the Detroit Incinerator is coming under scrutiny.

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  • Why the delay?

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  • Perhaps the industry with its vested interests to make sure that the links between Consultants and the Companies that have vested links to ensure that the most expensive options are always put in place are part of the deal.
    When you see the "put or pay" principles adopted in the Sheffield, Nottingham, East London, Edmonton in North London, Hampshire Waste Partnership, Manchester, Liverpool, Staffordshire, Allington, Belvedere, and elsewhere in Ringsend-Dublin, and also proposed for Belfast and Killoch in Ayrshire, and as again believed to be the case for York, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Kings Lynn - and those which are now being adopted elsewhere area used as a euphemism to pay the provider of services for residual treatment even when the Gate Fees are dropping to zero and even when the quantities of waste are dropping year on year and they are allowed pass through legislation which is also carried forward to be paid for by the Council Tax Payers (as indicated here in the first item responding) it seems as though this cosy niche is the main reason why these are continually being built. Now we see that food waste may be having to be bought by the AD providers then there is obviously something wrong with the system that prefers to nominate Incineration/Gasification above all other options when the other options - particularly AD are far better for the tax payers.

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