There is “no evidence for increased risk” linking birth defects and infant mortality to UK municipal waste incinerators, according to the findings of a recently published study.
The Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) published a paper titled “Fetal growth, stillbirth, infant mortality and other birth outcomes near UK municipal waste incinerators; retrospective population based cohort and case-control study”, which presents the results of an investigation of possible health effects associated with municipal waste incinerator (MWI) emissions.
The results of the study show “no evidence” for increased risk of a range of birth outcomes, including birth weight, preterm delivery and infant mortality, in relation to either MWI emissions or living near an MWI operating to the current EU waste incinerator regulations in Great Britain.
This paper is part of a wider study investigating reproductive and infant health near municipal waste incinerators in Great Britain.
This national-scale investigation was of the possible health effects associated with MWI emissions of particulate matter ≤10 µm in diameter (PM10) as a proxy for MWI emissions more generally, and living near a MWI, in relation to fetal growth, stillbirth, infant mortality and other birth outcomes.
The study, which is one of the largest studies to date on health risks of municipal waste incineration, came as the result of some studies reporting associations between MWI exposures and adverse birth outcomes, according to SAHSU.
It says there are few studies of modern MWIs operating to current European Union (EU) Industrial Emissions Directive standards. As a result, it investigated all 22 British MWI operating 2003–10.
It examined birth weight, multiple births, sex ratio, prematurity and mortality outcomes and found “no associations between MWI proximity or emissions and infant health outcomes”.