Victorian Values, urbanisation and the state we’re in now…. Why DEFRA’S “no conclusive evidence” is a fraud.
Our great-great grandfathers were poisoned by their work with coal and metals and chemistry, but the poison also soaked into the land. Like radioactivity the biological life of the poisons is many, many generations long. The industrial plants have, sooner or later, been demolished and the houses near them first housed the workers, then, very often the poorest in the community. The vacant plots were cheap and councils built their housing on them. As densification became more important even the most toxic sites began to be used after “remediation”, never mind the dusts raised by that, or the builders that followed, to dig deep foundations.
Incinerators have also been built in these areas, and scientific studies (notably that of Paul Elliott on cancers near incinerators, 1996) show lots of extra ill-health, from the rare liver cancers and sarcomas associated with dioxins, to leukaemias and congenital malformations and infant deaths. The standard comment is that these findings cannot be ascribed to whatever industrial activity is being investigated because of “confounding factors”…..i.e. the extra ill-health caused by being deprived, having a poor diet, being working-class, smoking, drinking, getting poor antenatal care etc.,etc. That’s why there is “no conclusive evidence”. Its not that there aren’t tons of illnesses.
There is this built-in 20th century factor which the Seveso explosion and following cancer studies show:
The first study was done on the years 1976-1986 (actually 10 years too early, as in the Elliott study), and found that the incidence of all cancers was the same for the exposed population as for the unexposed. This is despite extensive proof that dioxins cause cancer in laboratory animals. It was subsequently revealed that other dioxins were discovered in the contaminated soil that had come from another, unidentified, source. Thus background levels of pollution were already high enough to cause illness.
This is one of the problems facing epidemiologists, that it is virtually impossible to find a control group that has not been exposed to environmental pollutants. This technical scientific difficulty is being exploited and abused to give false reassurances. Our children will pay for this first, and then we ourselves will.
The potential Beddington incinerator will stand next door to the sites of 2 Victorian Gasworks (1826 onwards), Croydon power stations "A" and "B" and two metal foundries.Local historians will know,unlike me,their size,history and precise siting.Croydon already has peaks of early neonatal deaths.
As our Victorian legacy gets exhumed, and the effects of old and new incinerators are examined,bear in mind that the embryo and infant are the most "sensitive receptors".The statistics they provide will be the earliest and most important indicators that something is wrong.Will your local authority and the state show and share,or hide? Will Imperial College and SAHSU dare to research or not? Don't hold your breath!
An extraordinary example of planners "forgetting" contamination is at the Olympics site: 1 experimental nuclear reactor and its waste + 2 Thorium factories + 3 unregulated waste tip = 7,300 tons of radioactive waste now in a "safe" bunker on site...who's going to live there then?