Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

Waste incinerators inquiry into link with infant deaths

Site Logo

Waste incinerators inquiry into link with infant deaths

9:09am Saturday 11th June 2011

HEALTH chiefs are to investigate infant deaths in areas where there are incinerators after figures showed a spike in babies dying near the facilities.

Environmental campaigners claim emissions from incinerators are hazardous and say figures relating to Bolton back that up.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show a jump in infant deaths in Great Lever — where the Raikes Lane waste plant incinerator is based. The Royal Bolton Hospital is also on the edge of the ward boundary.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) does not believe incinerators cause “significant risk”, but is now looking to reassure the public with a special study.

A spokesman said: “Well run and regulated modern municipal waste incinerators are not a significant risk to health. However, we recognise that there are real public concerns about this issue.

“The HPA continually seeks to review and extend the evidence ‘base’ on which it bases its advice.

“We are in discussions with Imperial College London about a potential study into birth outcomes around municipal incinerators and a detailed proposal for what would be a complex study is being drawn up.”

Campaigner Michael Ryan, from Shrewsbury, has fought against incincerators for nine years after the mystery death of his three-month-old daughter.

His son also developed leukaemia and died at the age of 20.

Mr Ryan, aged 62, said: “I believe incinerators do affect health and this needs looking into urgently. What I have found in Bolton suggests incinerators are having an impact in the town.”

According to official figures, 11.3 babies die per 1,000 live births in Great Lever — more than double the borough average of 5.3.

The lowest rate in Bolton is 2.3.

Bolton Green Party member Alan Johnson said: “We welcome this subject being researched, but want to see a stop to using incinerators.”

However NHS Bolton has warned against breaking down the data to ward level.

A spokesman said: “Every infant death is a tragedy, but fortunately the numbers are relatively small.

“This means any analysis of individual wards is not robust enough to show real differences between areas.

“The causes are complex and influenced by many factors, such as deprivation and the mother’s age, ethnicity and health.

“Bolton’s infant death rate has fallen in recent years, but reducing it and improving the health of mothers and children remains a key priority.”

A spokesman for Viridor, which operates the incinerator at Raikes Lane, said the facility played an important role in waste management.

He added: “Most of the emissions from the stack are made up of carbon dioxide and water and trace levels of other substances “The EU Waste Incineration Directive sets stringent environmental standards, with low emissions limits ensuring no significant impacts on health or the environment.”


© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group

Site Logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *