Author Topic: how safe are waste incinerators?  (Read 1798 times)

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Offline Debs

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how safe are waste incinerators?
« on: August 07, 2008, 12:37:56 pm »
By definition, the waste burned in incinerators will be the stuff we can't recycle – the most chemically-complicated portion of our rubbish. The health implications are the anti-incineration campaigners' most fundamental concern.
Mike Birkin, from Friends of the Earth in the South West, said: "Smoke, gases and ash from incinerators can contain harmful dioxins, which are a cause of cancer."
David Levy, from The Air That We Breathe group, has long raised the issue of emissions from Lafarge's cement works in Westbury, which could soon be burning Wiltshire's rubbish. He highlighted the fact that the firm's own emissions data already includes 12 heavy metals – everything from arsenic and mercury to selenium and zinc – which come out of the chimney, along with a host of gas chlorides and oxides, all of which, in sufficient quantities, can harm health.
"For instance, the most chromium Lafarge emitted in a single recent year was 62.2kg," said Mr Levy. "Chromium and its compounds may cause cancer and genetic damage. Excessive exposure may affect the digestive system, kidney, liver, lung, nose, skin and the unborn child. And all this without Lafarge yet burning rubbish there."
Mr Levy blames council waste bosses for pursuing the incinerator option and called on health chiefs to step in.
When incinerators are planned, health chiefs get a say too. Dr Mark Evans, an expert from the Health Protection Agency, said staff have been doing their homework on burning rubbish.
"Where rubbish is burned, it will replace fossil fuels, and that should improve the actual emissions," said Dr Evans. "It will be beneficial to the environment and will mean less for landfill sites. You can see why it's attractive to the waste industry.
"If it does produce harmful emissions, the monitoring will pick that up. Our experience with other cement kilns, for instance, has shown there hasn't been significant increases in harmful emissions. The experience has been good in other areas."
"Government experts across the board have looked carefully at substitute fuels and said there is no reason not to – the tests show this is safe. There are these metals and chemicals, but they are in such small quantities that they get diluted in the atmosphere. The regulations mean that only tiny amounts make it into the atmosphere," he said.
Dr Maggie Rae, Wiltshire's director of public health added: "We've done our homework on what is coming with incineration.
full story on the link

should we be concerned or not??        opinions plz