Monday, 29 June 2009
Birth defect rates in Greater London 1995-2002
by Michael Ryan BSc, C Eng, MICE
the only London Borough with an incinerator authorised to burn radioactive waste [White Rose, Sidcup], and which is also subject to industrial PM2.5 emissions from three other sources, has had the highest rate of babies born with defects out of the 31 Greater London Primary Care Trusts[PCTs], for each of the five years 1998-2002.
The rates of babies recorded as born with defects in Bexley during 2002 was between 15 and 59
times greater than in Islington.
Grundon’s incinerator at Colnbrook is authorised to burn radioactive waste, hence there are elevated rates of babies born with birth defects in PCTs downwind. [ Slough, Hillingdon]
Birth defects are known to be caused by radioactivity, organophosphate herbicide/pesticides, and industrial PM2.5 emissions of dioxins, some heavy metals, and PAHs. Incinerator emissions can contain all these, hence the higher birth defect rates associated with radioactive waste-burning.
Work on the Millennium Dome site - clearing the polluted earth -gave rise to a massive increase in school asthma rates in Greenwich [from
11.9% in 1996 to 50% after works started] .There was a parallel rise in birth defects in the area in the 2years that followed.
Has anyone suggested that Croydon’s high rate of birth defects should be investigated. If it is already high, could that be due to the Beddington site dusts, even before an incinerator?or Croydon’s own Victorian legacy? Perhaps we should ask Michael Ryan? Have the factory fires at 20th Century,later Centronics (industrial holders of radioactive materials) affected New Addington's infant mortality? I just think we need some research that is public.
MRC-HPA centre for environment and health.
Though these men are not in the public eye,they should be,for on their shoulders rests a heavy responsibility.They control the choice of projects researched, the vital postcode/illness databases (SAHSU) and the extent of freedom from government interference.Professor Elliott’s work stands at a crossroads of incinerator safety and air pollution effects and Professor Kelly’s ERG air quality research will monitor the complex mix of air pollutants over London.I doubt that they see their role as answering questions from the public,though they are publicly funded.Perhaps that may change?
Professor Paul Elliott from Imperial College London, the Director of the new MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, said: "Your body has to deal with hundreds of different pollutants every day, the vast majority of which are probably harmless. However, we know that some pollutants can cause health problems – for example, some of the minute particles found in diesel fumes can make people’s asthma symptoms worse. " "It's quite difficult to work out whether certain pollutants are affecting our health because we are exposed to so many, over such long periods of time. Our new Centre is developing methods to look at the exposure of many thousands of people. Through this research we will investigate the extent, for example, a particular chemical is contributing to a particular health problem."
Professor Frank Kelly from King's College London, the Deputy Director of the new Centre, said "We are very much looking forward to working with colleagues at Imperial College to address a range of challenging environmental issues which contribute to the chronic disease burden in the 21st century".
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Boris intends to build 98 waste plants and 577 combined heat and power plants as part of London’s low carbon economy (Ernst &Young prospectus, 2009) over the coming years. He has already taken many steps to wreck progress in air quality in London, the most important being the suspension of LEZ 3.
Last week the Institute of Environmental Health in London held an event:
“ A major expansion in biomass heat is underway to help the UK meet its CO2 reduction targets. The air quality impacts are, however, potentially a stumbling block, the successful management of these is key to a sustainable rollout of biomass heat. This event explores how the air quality impacts of biomass can be successfully managed, cover biomass technologies and their emission performance, before examining the regulatory framework and techniques for air quality assessment. Emerging renewable heat and air quality policy will be covered, and the issue of embedding air quality management in the planning process for biomass deployment Topics include: • Policy update (DECC) • Regulation of biomass plant (Environment Agency) • Developing sustainable wood fuel supply chains (Forestry Commission)”
The combination of traffic growth, waste management and combined heat and power are likely to have very detrimental further effects on London’s already poor air. There seems to be no integrated assessment of these changes, but rather a denial of their significance in marketing the capital to the world as a whole, let alone the health of the population.
As population growth is achieved by both densification and a move to the east...not only do current potential energy from waste developments give rise to issues about contaminated land...but also the Victorian "forgotten" industrial legacy gets to be "remembered",often as a surprise!
Monday, 22 June 2009
Dioxins and furans
6.23 There are currently no standards or guidelines for dioxins or furans, and monitoring is
carried out at a single London site. These pollutants are however of significant public
6.24 Given the extremely high costs of monitoring for dioxins and furans it is not
recommended that further measurement sites be established. Whilst reporting of
concentrations on a more widespread basis could be undertaken, the manner in which
this is done needs to be given careful consideration, in the absence of standards for
Lead and heavy metals
6.21 There is currently only limited monitoring for lead and heavy metals being undertaken
in London. However, existing national policies are expected to deliver the air quality
objectives for lead at practically all locations in the UK, with the exception of sites in
close proximity to major industrial emitters of lead. At a strategic level, there is no
requirement for monitoring of lead concentrations in London.
6.22 The current position with other heavy metals is less clear. There are currently no
standards or objectives for other metals, and whilst these are being considered for
cadmium, arsenic, nickel and mercury within the EU Fourth Daughter Directive,
current understanding is that it is unlikely that Limit Values will be set. At this stage,
it is recommended that monitoring of heavy metals is kept under review pending the
outcome of the Directive.
All the London roadside heavy metal measuring sites,Brent,Cromwell Road and Horseferry Road are a long way west of the incinerator plumes of Edmonton,Belvedere,Lewisham and potential Beddington, which cover the whole of East London,both sides of the river.I assume they were designed to measure car derived Lead pollution mostly.They are of no use at all in measuring London's incinerators' heavy metals emissions.Invisible..."simples".
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
exposed to cadmium – The Avonmouth Study
1 Britannia Zinc Smelter in Avonmouth was the largest source of atmospheric cadmium emissions in the UK.
2 Closed in 2003 after over 70 years of operation
3 Large amounts of cadmium along with various other metals (inc. lead, arsenic, mercury) were emitted to air.
4 Cadmium is a nephrotoxin; the initial sign of cadmium induced renal damage is tubular proteinuria.
5 Increasing evidence that tubular damage may occur at low levels of environmental cadmium exposure.
6 Exposure may occur directly through inhalation of contaminated air and /or indirectly through ingestion of home-grown vegetables and house dust.
7 Soil sampling has shown a significant build-up of metal contamination in the soil up to 15 km from the smelter .
This is taken directly from the Imperial College SAHSU research poster.
Well,all sorts of rubbish goes into an incinerator,especially if we have to cope with electricals and hazardous waste streams locally.Mercury and cadmium are two of the commonest and most dangerous metals here.This tells you how you and your children will get them,how far they go(way outside the purple particle dispersion marker of the petition) and how small the damaging doses are.Unfortunately for Bristol,it wouldn't have been only cadmium and other heavy metals but also dioxins going up in smoke.There will be cancer clusters and other dioxin markers for sure...if not why not? Litigation and compensation avoidance.Is it the same reason that the Suffolk nuclear power station leaks were kept secret?To avoid scuppering another government programme.As usual we will never know.
Monday, 15 June 2009
1.All waste transfer stations have a problem with dust…it was thought, until recently, that this was just “clean dirt” churned up by the lorries. Unfortunately research presented at the Cranfield University annual meeting in 2008
showed that this dust was much more highly reactive because of what was on it and would cause oxidative stress in the lungs when inhaled..... “ Thus, PM10 generated by the waste transfer facility at BX4 should be considered a potential health risk to
the neighbouring residential community.”
It criticised the assumptions of our very own SLWP plan:
ERM (2006) Sustainability Appraisal Report for the Surrey Waste Plan. Environmental Resource Management
Who said it was just ordinary dust!
2.Beddington monitoring station PM10 air went over its annual mean WHO safety limits (20) on 288 days of last year (2008)…..yes….288 ! Its annual mean PM10’s were 35…that is 15 over the WHO limit, leading to an excess respiratory mortality rate of either 9% or 32% (depending on who you want to believe).It is about 3,000 feet from the sewage farm entrance, so it is likely that the readings there will be higher, but to be fair, Beddington village itself is about as far the other way. I have no idea about the respective weight of traffic coming down, or going up Beddinton Lane, but it is certain to go up significantly were any incinerator to be built.
3.“The Sensitive Receptor and the Incinerator” new particulates could add to this already woeful story, and they have all sorts of extra stuff stuck to them. As, in the old legislation, the sensitive receptor was (still is?) classed as the 6 year old girl, surely it would make more sense to place a monitoring station nearer the school playgrounds. In fact it seems daft not to be monitoring the health of our school children a lot better as so many playgrounds are near ever busier roads.
4.Inflammation: think about a cut, or a burn, or a nettle sting, or a bee or a horse-fly sting. There’s pain (or itching), reddening, swelling and extra warmth to the touch. All of that is called the inflammatory response. Blood vessels expand, and blood flows faster, lots of little white cells squeeze between the walls of the capillaries and are ready to attack or eat up the enemy, before trying to heal things. You wouldn’t believe how many links in the chain there are and how everything “talks” to everything else. You can’t see into the tiny lung tubes and air sacs , nor is pain registered, just cough or wheeze, so skin will have to do. You can see that this is not over quickly, the lungs hold a “history” of what has happened to them. Just like you would yelp if hurt near the original wound. “Mad scientists” have gassed volunteers with Volvo engines in the basements of King’s College, and shown not only the inflammatory response, by sucking some of these cells up, but also the increased sensitivity to further insult persisting for some hours. The shoppers who had wheezing in the Oxford Street experiment showed altered lung sensitivity for up to 7 hours after. So,oxidative stress is expressed as inflammation, which can lead to scarring, which can lead to restricted lung growth.The morning rush hour Nox and Particulate peaks (which can be as high as 114 [PM10 norm 20!]) soften up the lung for the summer afternoon Ozone hit,on top of 24/7 Incinerator Effects.You couldn't make it up!
5.Allergy: some of us get hay fever a bit, or a little wheeze others get mild asthma, still other get serious asthma. American scientists believe that air pollution causes asthma as a condition, that it makes attacks happen once you have got it and that it is what lies behind the huge increase in children with it. In Britain, I don’t believe this is quite agreed.
Friday, 12 June 2009
"catchy titles and a fun read"? ( all available from Amazon)
They are a depressing trinity, because the illnesses described make you feel quite sick, and the deliberately protracted legal cases, enquiries and government agency buckpassing take a real effort to follow. There is a common thread to them all, whether the East Liverpool WTI incinerator, The Agent Orange Vietnam veterans or the air pollution of Los Angeles.
It is one of collusion between powerful industries with their falsified science, government departments and agencies and so called independent inquiries. These are not some red-top, sensationalist or politicised rants , but carefully researched histories of often small peoples’ determined fight for environmental justice. The stories are really shocking because they expose how completely expendable we and our children all are to the globalised economic barons that rule our governments and the EU.
Have you ever heard of the Coalite Bolsover plant explosion? No ?I didn’t think so, it was our own version of Seveso, the Italian plant explosion that happened some 8 years later and brought our own accident to light. Did you know Al Gore broke his promises to Ohio to stop the building of the largest hazardous waste incinerator in the world? Did you know that Los Angeles had an air pollution problem since 1945 and the motor car was not identified as the cause for 30 years!?
You can pick your poison and have a good read.....it is now all firm American history.....you will never be the same again,I promise.
Well, when the plans and reassurances eventually come over the hill from the SLWP, DEFRA, The London Waste Board and the WasteMongers for the Not-Incinerator, remember the Greenwich Peninsula, Byker, Bolsover and Corby.
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Tower Hamlets research shows that children’s lungs are more damaged than ever by London air.
5% below national average in size,
Nearly one on 10 reduced to a level internationally regarded as hazardous.
Lancaster Professor Maher said: "We're surrounded by this invisible mist of these millions of toxic particles - you can't see them but we know, we've measured them, they're here.
"When we do our leaf magnetic measurements, our research shows that down at small child height the concentrations - the number - of these very fine particles is sometimes twice the current EU regulation standard."
One set of measurements, outside the Cathedral School in Lancaster, revealed particulate levels that were above the EU standard.
The school's head, Anne Goddard, said the findings were "quite worrying".
"It's the only playground we have at the school and it's right next to the road. The levels are high so obviously the effect on the children, especially those with asthma, is a concern."
Lung damage is not the same as asthma…it is a permanent constriction and scarring that reduces a person’ resilience to illness in later life to a serious extent.
The idiotic comments of Hilary Benn,the minister responsible, should worry us all even more,
“ most of the landmass of Britain does meet the requirements.”,he said,
Pity 99% of the population don’t live in the 99% of the landmass that is particle free.Dooh!
What is this doing on an incinerator blog?Well the lungs don't care very much whether the tiny particles are coming from a car,lorry,nanotechnology or a chimney.What's stuck to the particles poisons you in different ways,sure,but its the total count of what's out there that matters.London's going for growth and the children will pay in the long run.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
The science journalist,Simon Singh, is campaigning to change English libel laws that are “Draconian and Expensive”.A damages judgement for a few thousand,will rack up lawyers’ fees of £500,000.You are guilty (of causing harm) and must prove your innocence(that the organisation has not been harmed!), a total reversal of what people believe to be their position before the law.Articles get withdrawn,or just not written and perhaps thoughts stop being thought. The problems in England are so serious (x 100 European expenses) that American states are beginning to pass laws the exempt US citizens from English libel laws in this area.A Californian journalist may write a critique of an English incinerator operator,say,and,if his article is read on the internet here he can be hauled up in, or threatended with court over here.People from the president of the Royal Society to Stephen Fry and Harry Hill are lobbying a current parliamentary inquiry…shouldn’t we be too?
Saturday, 6 June 2009
From Kracow to Kualar-Lumpur waste scientists are studying how to deal with a new wave of sludge produced by urbanisaton and population growth.Historically it was sent out to sea or put into landfill,and more recently onto fields.Then they realised that fertilistaion was contamination,as heavy metal soil residues became ever more apparent and legislated against. So what to do?
Mix it with some carbon source (rubber tyres or tarmac will do just fine),as raw liquid sewage doesn’t heat very well,then cook it at low-for-incineration temperatures,take off the gas and bio-fuel and then……put the rest into landfill or tarpits.Sound familiar?Its Greenwich all over again,with the concentrated Xtra-Toxic goo and char to store and deal with.Just grate!
Thursday, 4 June 2009
EURO ….F..Law……a TRANSPARENCY-LITE POLLUTER’S CHARTER
In the guise of cutting red tape and curbing administrative costs the Environment Committee of the EU Parliament has just last month passed amendments to European Directive [COM(2007) 843 final]that seriously affect our ability to monitor and inspect
Heavy metal emissions
The industry lobby wants to limit access to the legal complaint procedure by non governmental organisations promoting environmental protection, leaving an individual to face them alone!
The industry has gained permission for inspections every two years instead of every year.
Industry wanted derogations from limit values..it has got them!
Soil monitoring every 10 years, groundwater, every 5….!Heavy metals once a year
You won’t be informed until four months after a breach has occurred etc.etc.
When the SLWP come to say that incinerators are safe..who can argue with them….the operators will own all the numbers…..It is really time that we all had access to independent sources of monitoring,both particulates in general and heavy metals in particular.Perhaps it should be made a condition of the contract that we get heavy metal readings every week!
Isn't it truly amazing that in all this regulation there is no provision whatsoever for monitoring the health of the "local" population.That is absolutely disgraceful and negligent.Come on you Green MEP's!