[back] Toxic air

Incinerator deaths

by Dr Dick van Steenis

Dr van Steenis is an internationally known and respected researcher and campaigner nito deaths and chronic illnesses surrounding major sources of pollution in this country.  One has to wonder why the government is keeping so very quiet about the issues raised by Dr van Steenis.


Should you reside or work within 16 miles downwind of the proposed Capel incinerator site, including Leatherhead, Dorking, Redhill, Reigate, Caterham, Horley, Gatwick, East Grinstead & Crawley please read on.

An incinerator is planned by the Council, subject to agreement by PCT public health director and Environment Agency.  

Incineration of waste causes a shortening of lifespan of up to 12 years often in the prime of life by increasing a range of diseases especially heart attacks & cancers.

A 20 year university led study in Belgium detailed diseases and deaths caused during years 1 to 5, 6 to 10 and 11 to 20, ending up with a 480% rise in cancer incidence on top of the country’s rise. 

The proposed chimney will spread the damage some 16 miles with Horley & Crawley at very high risk. 

Incineration of waste vaporises heavy metals making the particulates emitted even more lethal when you inhale them into your lungs.

Emissions will consist of PM2.5 particulates which mostly pass through the abatement equipment and which go into the deepest part of your lungs when inhaled.    Your health can be put at risk for 3 days just from an hour’s exposure if the wind blows the PM2.5s your way. Interaction of  gasses and ultra fine particles from other PM2.5 emitting items such as Gatwick Airport will form new secondary PM2.5 particulates increasing the incinerator’s effects on health downwind. Wind direction, speed and temperature inversions are crucial factors. 

When you inhale PM2.5 particulates the soluble fraction gets into the bloodstream and your cells, while the insoluble fraction is partly dealt with by macrophages and T-lymphocytes with the remnants walled off in the lungs causing COPD. The resultant inflammatory process can cause asthma & clinical depression.

When in the cells, mutations will occur due to heavy metals, PAHs, dioxins, PCBs, any radioactivity or dioxins. Without adequate selenium in your blood to neutralise the metals, mutations from these items will lead to birth defects, and cancers and altered gene function.  

In USA even 12 year olds had 20% loss of lung peak-flow due to PM2.5 induced COPD.  Unlike USA, where PM2.5s have been rigorously monitored & regulated since 1997, in the UK only PM10s (PM10 down to PM4—none of which gets into your lungs) are measured using instruments that can be adjusted to minus eg Brighton during June 2007 where PM2.5s read fraudulent minus 107uG/m3   Hence there is no regulation in the UK to protect the public.

The IPPC law was downgraded by Mr. Prescott in 2000 to more or less “anything will do”. The Environment Agency truthfully state they know nothing about health. Far worse, the Health Protection Agency follow Guy’s Hospital unit director who said “Air pollution does not exist”. So without knowledge of toxicology or use of available data, the PCT, Environment Agency & HPA only heed government “spin”, “reviews” and “diktat”. 

They lack a single peer-reviewed journal back-up. I have 337 journal references backing up what I am telling you here. It is up to you, the reader, to challenge  PCT public health directors whom the GMC say must know the subject, be up to date and listen to & protect the public. The Environment Agency cannot authorise any application unless council and PCT public health director have signed consent.  The total NHS cost of this unregulated UK industrial air pollution is c.£36 billion pa plus losses to education & productivity & crime..  There will be cumulative impacts in the body and synergistic effects, for example cadmium & lead in the body will multiply the effects of mercury by 50 times, and pollutants within PM2.5s interact with your blood fatty acids.

 The only safe way of handling waste is plasma-gasification which runs on electricity, produces vitrified gravel, hydrogen & electricity –all for sale- and has very low emissions at a nett cost of £23 to £32 per ton compared with incinerators of c.£63 per ton plus health damage plus huge volumes of toxic ash for disposal. Who has the morals to protect the public??  Challenge councillors & PCT to not only protect your health but to install this plasma gasification as the best available technique. If you read Popular Science, March 2007, you will discover that Panama will be treating all  waste by plasma producing 40% of Panama ’s electricity plus exports of hydrogen. Other plants are built or planned in Ottawa , Florida , Michigan , New York Puerto Rico etc.  Veolia are building the Michigan plant while fobbing off English residents with an inferior incinerator by comparison (which is now not BAT as required by IPPC law).  The range of illnesses caused by inhaling PM2.5 particulates from waste burning include----

Birth defects,  miscarriages, low birth weight babies (in direct proportion to PM2.5 levels).
Premature deaths of babies, infants and adults. eg.  In London the infant mortality in zones downwind of the incinerators is 7 times higher than in wards upwind. (9.0 cf 1.3/1000 --- ONS data 2003/5)
T-lymphocyte diversion to lungs with depletion causes SIDS, cot deaths, autism, MS, GBS
Attention deficit and other behaviour problems, some leading to crime.
Lower IQ & educational achievement down 2 years, worse GCSE grades (due partly to PAHs)
Asthma, COPD, viral & bacterial respiratory & other infections (especially boys)
Coronary heart disease, heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, strokes, SADS.
Diabetes type 2, (sometimes type 1).  Endometriosis & other hormone disruption.
Multiple chemical sensitivity with allergies & arthritis
ME, CFS, Hypothyroidism with low T3 level (adding to obesity)
Clinical depression & suicides, apathy, which increases the obesity problem.
CANCERS—nonHodgkins lymphoma, brain, breast, colon, lung, prostate, kidney, liver etc
Breast cancer for example can be caused by faulty genes (2%), HRT (5%) radiation, OP pesticides/herbicides, and from chimneys—cadmium, dioxins (& similar), & PAHs

Analysis of 9 health parameters in Telford by ward in 2005 revealed increases in illnesses, SMR & age adjusted mortality in 7 polluted wards compared with 24 less polluted wards.  An incinerator built in Colnbrook 1990 caused Slough SMR to worsen from 88 to 121 by 2001 meaning 11 years off lifespan.  Those with internet can check www.ukhr.org  and www.countrydoctor.co.uk  (under pollution at bottom of main page) for more details. It is up to you to act or you will have the consequences imposed on you. The regulators normally just follow government diktat.--Compiled 8 January 2008 & Copyright by Dr. Dick van Steenis MBBS who has reports in 4 peer-reviewed medical publications and has lectured at 4 international medical conferences in addition to public inquiries.   GLOSSARY-- COPD = Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease        PAH- Poly-Aromatic Hydrocarbons     CFS= Chronic Fatigue Syndrome         IPPC = Integrated Pollution & Prevention Control    USEPA = USA Environmental Protection Agency      SADS = Sudden Adult Death Syndrome
(30/1/08)   http://www.countrydoctor.co.uk/precis/precis%20-%20Incinerator%20deaths%20and%20morbidity.htm