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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 5:55am

Allaying health fears over incinerator

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 3:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 3:45am

The information Massimo Massarola provided in his letter ("Incinerator will pose risk to residents", December 11) may be related to old incineration plants before the implementation of the stringent European Union Directive.

Recent international reviews show that well-managed and regulated modern municipal waste incinerators do not pose the sort of risk to public health that he alleges.

For instance, the German environment ministry concluded that waste-to-energy plants operating in conformity with EU standards pose such low risks that they can be classified as causing only negligible health risks for the population living in the vicinity.

Likewise, the executive agency of Britain's Department of Health (Public Health England) noted last month that modern, well-managed incinerators make only a small contribution to local concentrations of air pollution and the effects on health are likely to be very small and not detectable.

Hong Kong's integrated waste management facility will be designed to meet EU standards and industry-best practices, including using very high heat flue gas combustion and an advanced multiple flue gas cleansing system.

The facility will reduce the volume of waste by 90 per cent. We will also ensure it is well-managed.

It will be equipped, among others, with baghouse filters to remove fly ash and other particulates from the flue gas.

This is the best available technology to control the PM2.5 emission and can achieve a removal efficiency of over 99 per cent.

The fly ash and air pollution control residue collected will be pre-treated by cement solidification in the facility before landfill disposal so that the pollutants in the ash would not leach out to the environment.

The facility's environmental impact assessment also included human health impacts assessment.

The cancer risk arising from exposure to compounds of potential concern and the cumulative acute non-carcinogenic health impact arising from the facility are insignificant.

These findings have been reviewed and accepted by the Department of Health.

We will set up a transparent monitoring system so that the public can be kept informed about emissions from the facility.

Elvis W. K. Au, assistant director of environmental protection


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Does AU have children ?
Effect on Children
Sint Niklaas (SN) incinerator report funded by Belgian government
Children more vulnerable to pollutants produced by incinerators. Foetus/newborn vulnerable Report showed blood/glandular cancers appeared in children 5 years after incinerator started operation/preceded increase in adult cancers by 7 years which showed 5-fold increase over 20 years. Knox found doubling childhood cancers & leukaemiae within 5km of MSW incinerators
37 yr study by Dummer showed spina bifida 17% higher + heart defects 12% higher near incinerators. Congenital defects of many kinds were found at (SN) Orofacial defects doubled near incinerator at Zeeberg, Amsterdam Dolk found 33% higher incidence of birth defects,higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities within 3 km of municipal waste sites The same pattern of increased congenital defects 12% with higher excess of neural tube defects 54% found in study of ethnic minorities near waste sites in USA . Chromosomal & other major anomalies (facial clefts/megacolon/renal dysplasias found in study of 70 French incinerators
Study showed an excess of autism, hyperactivity, allergies, asthma, repeated infections + congenital defects. Data from UK shows increased autism rates near incinerators: 1 in 85 near the Edmonton incinerator & 1 in 30 in parts of Birmingham between incinerators Tysley & Dudley incinerators . Average in UK 1 in 180.
I suggest Dept of Health reviews peer reviewed reports How many more would you like ?
Cancer mortality in towns in the vicinity of incinerators & installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste (Spain)
:Results support hypothesis of significant higher risk of dying from all cancers in towns situated near incinerators & hazardous waste treatment plants, specifically higher excess risk in respect of tumors of the stomach, liver, pleura, kidney + ovary. This is one of the 1st studies to analyze the risk of dying of cancer related with specific industrial activities in this sector at a national level
Air pollution from incinerators & reproductive outcomes (Italy)
:Maternal exposure to incinerator emissions even at very low levels was associated with preterm delivery
Risk of adverse reproductive outcomes associated with proximity to MSW incinerators with high dioxin emission levels in Japan.
:Our study shows a peak-decline in risk with distance from the municipal solid waste incinerators for infant deaths + infant deaths with all congenital malformations combined
Maternal residence near municipal waste incinerators & the risk of urinary tract birth defects.(France)
:Study confirms previous observation of link between the risk of urinary tract birth defects & exposure to MSWI emissions in early pregnancy


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