Recycling is the vision, not garbage incineration

Incinerators are a Toxic Technology

Research in Britain, shows that health concerns around incinerators, particularly with regards to certain cancers, heart disease and impacts on fetuses and infants. 

A study noted here on the UK Health Research website showed concerns with infant mortality. Health Care Without Harm put together this document outlining concerns with incineration. In many cases, it has not been proven harmful because the testing and research are not being done.

Metro Vancouver and other incineration supporters often note that the UK Health Protection Agency is not concerned about health impacts of incineration. However, a letter from the CEO of the agency notes that they have not studied the health impacts because “the number of people around an incinerator is too small.” In other words, the sample size is too small and so they have not bothered to investigate further, nor use the precautionary principle. Not reassuring for the people living downwind or in close proximity.

In addition, the UK Health Protection Agency relies on work done by Mark Broomfield, a consultant for Enviros. However, they fail to mention that this information has been refuted and that Enviros has ties to incinerator companies (such as being hired by WRG to write a health report).

Incineration technology has not been proven to be safe (that includes plasmification, gasification, mass burning and all other forms of incineration). The Halton Region undertook a study which showed health concerns about both incinerators and landfills as well as pointing out that more research would be needed to fill the gaps in current knowledge. Halton did not proceed with an incinerator.

In June 2008 in Europe, many medical associations (including physicians, environmental chemists and toxicologists) representing over 33,000 doctors wrote a keynote statement directly to the European Parliament emphasizing their widespread concerns on incinerator particle emissions and the lack of monitoring of or research on incinerator emissions of specific fine and ultrafine particle size and their health effects.

Locally, the Chief Medical Health Officers (page 26) for both Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health Authorities noted “It is the position of both Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health that Metro Vancouver must conduct a Health Impact Assessment for each individual proposed waste-to-energy (WTE) facility.

The draft plan states that a number of technologies are to be assessed, implying that, as yet, no technology has been chosen. Nevertheless, discussion at the Council of Councils meeting and background supporting that incineration is the favoured choice. We acknowledge the work Metro Vancouver has done in reviewing the waste incineration technology currently in use in Europe.

While valuable, experiences from other jurisdictions can not take away from the need to assess the potential health impact from each individual WTE proposal, based on the actual technology chosen, the site selected, and public input.”

More research on hazardous waste incinerators in Spain show an increase risk of dying from cancer for residents of nearby areas.

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