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CUHK to start 10-year plan on Ka Ho residents’ health

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CUHK to start 10-year plan on Ka Ho residents’ health

18/06/2012 10:05:00

The government has commissioned the Chinese University of Hong Kong for a 10-year study of health conditions of the residents in Ka Ho, where local people complained of illness due to the air pollution from ashes from the nearby incinerator. The Health Bureau said they had agreed with the university on the detailed procedures of the study to monitor the health conditions of residents in the area near Hac Sa. The University was quoted as saying details of the monitoring mechanism and study methodologies would be disclosed to the public next month. Preliminary arrangements require an annual report to be published, but the final conclusion will be ten years away. The Health Bureau said the study will be conducted scientifically, impartially and independently in a professional manner. The health issues were discovered early last year when hundreds of residents, many of them students and teachers in the schools there, complained of lung and respiratory problems after the contractor working the incinerator was found to have broken safety regulations by disposing of the ashes into open areas, and a large amount of them carried to residential districts by wind


Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 19:05‘; ‘
Cc: Andrew Tristem; ‘Frances Pollitt’; ‘Kelly, Frank’; Elliott, Paul
Subject: FW: Incinerator study

Dear Mr Middleton

Thank you for your enquiry on behalf of ‘Clear The Air’ in Hong Kong.

The English Health Protection Agency announced last week that they have approved funding for a Small Area Health Statistics Unit study to investigate whether there is any potential link between municipal waste incinerators and reproductive health – see

This is for a two year study starting in April 2012.  Results will be made publicly available once accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Best wishes

Anna Hansell

(Dr) Anna Hansell  MB BChir MA MRCP MSc PhD FFPH

Clinical Senior Lecturer

Assistant Director, Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU)

MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

School of Public Health Faculty of Medicine

Imperial College London St Mary’s Campus, Norfolk Place  LONDON W2 1PG

Phone: +44 (0)20 7594 3344

Fax: +44 (0)20 7594 0768


From: James Middleton []
Sent: 30 January 2012 09:43
To: Kelly, Frank;
Subject: Incinerator study

Dear Prof Elliott,

We are an NGO Charity based in Hong Kong.

Our website is

Could you please tell us what is the status of your Unit’s investigation regarding possible incinerator proximity dangers and when the study would likely be complete ?

Kind regards

James Middleton



Professor Judith Mackay

Professor Anthony Hedley

Inquiry is ordered into incinerators and health hazards they may pose

An investigation is to be launched – the first of its kind in this country – into whether incinerators present a risk to public health.

by Mark Metcalf

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

A team from Imperial College, London, has been commissioned to carry out the inquiry by the Health Protection Agency after fears were raised about the health risks of incinerators, particularly for young children.

Dozens of incinerators have been built around the country as Britain struggles to cope with its mounting refuse problems. But campaigners have become concerned that the price is being paid with poor health among babies and infants in the localities where such amenities are sited. One such activist is Michael Ryan, who lives in Shrewsbury, and who lost his only daughter at 14 weeks – and then suffered further personal tragedies when his teenage son and his mother both died, too. All lived downwind of an incinerator.

Mr Ryan began a painstaking piece of research into the subject of health – and deaths – of people living in close proximity to incinerators. The results from London are startling. In 12 of the capital’s 625 wards, there were no infant deaths between 2002 and 2008. But Southwark, which has two incinerators close by, had the highest rate with 7.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in that period.

Critics say it’s not microscopic particles from incinerators that kill babies and young children, but poverty. And while it is true that some people living close to incinerators are at the lower end of the social scale, Mr Ryan’s research reveals that death rates in more affluent middle class areas are higher if there is an incinerator nearby. Affluent Chingford Green ward in Waltham Forest has the second highest average number of child deaths in London. It happens to be close to Britain’s largest incinerator. “If it’s all about poverty, then how come the levels of infant mortality in countryside areas, where wages have always been below average, aren’t high?” asks Mr Ryan.

Now, to cries of “at last” from Mr Ryan, HPA head Justin McCracken has said that following discussions with Professor Paul Elliott, head of the Small Area Health Statistics Unit at Imperial College, it has been “concluded that an epidemiological study of birth outcomes around municipal waste incinerators would produce reliable results. Work is now progressing in developing a detailed proposal for what will be a complex study.”

In 2004, a study in Japan found a “peak decline in risk with distance from the municipal solid waste incinerators for infant deaths and infant deaths with all congenital malformations combined”.

Small Area Health Statistics Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK

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