Health and Environment

Review of research shows “no rise of any significant effect on health “

ESA (the Environmental Services Association, UK) commissioned AEA Technology Plc to undertake an independent scientific review of published research on the health effects and environmental issues of Waste-to-Energy (WtE) facilities.

The resulting review presents and discusses research papers concerning:

  • Process emissions
  • Nanoparticles/ultrafine particles
  • Dioxins and furans
  • Emissions during abnormal operating conditions
  • Health outcomes
  • Infant mortality
  • Infant development problems
  • Carcinogens and cancer risk
  • Respiratory disease

At the end of the paper references to a large number of the health and environmental studies are given.

The conclusion of the review is

On the basis of the discussion above, it is concluded that emissions from EfW facilities would not be expected to give rise to any significant effects on health. Emissions from EfW facilities as currently operated in the UK are substantially lower than those from facilities operating prior to the implementation of the Waste Incineration Directive. Taking account of the uncertainty inherent in epidemiological studies of EfW facilities, it is concluded that EfW facilities as currently operated in the UK are most unlikely to have any significant or detectable effects on cancer incidence, the incidence of adverse birth outcomes, or the incidence of respiratory disease. Specifically, in view of the flawed methodology, it is concluded that claims of the effects of EfW facilities on infant mortality made on the basis of mapping studies should not be considered a matter of concern.

Full reference:  “Review of research into health effects of Energy from Waste facilities”,  AEA/ED57607published in January 2012.