But preliminary findings have still not been submitted for peer review and publication unlikely before General Election
Public Health England today (February 2) reaffirmed that a study looking at the possible health impacts from waste incinerator emissions will be published in 2015, although preliminary results of the research have still to be submitted for peer review.
It was previously expected that a paper with preliminary results of the study would be prepared for submission to a peer-reviewed journal towards end of last year, but it now seems unlikely that final results will see the light of day before the forthcoming General Election.
Originally, results had been earmarked for publication in March 2014, but the study has faced several postponements due to â€œunanticipated complexity in gathering dataâ€ caused by having to enter emissions data into an electronic format manually before statistical analysis could begin.
A spokesman for Public Health England (PHE) was unable to provide a timescale for roughly when publication might be expected this year, although he said that the preliminary results would â€œultimately lead to a fuller report in due courseâ€.
PHE also continued to stress that its position remains that â€œwell run and regulated modern municipal waste incinerators are not a significant risk to public healthâ€.
The study involves examining areas of up to 15km around 22 incinerators across England, including Grundonâ€™s Lakeside energy-from-waste facility, the SELCHP plant in Lewisham, the LondonWaste Edmonton incinerator and SITA UKâ€™s Tees Valley plant in Billingham.
In addition, the Dundee Energy Recycling Ltd waste incinerator in Baldovie, Scotland, will also be included in the study through funding from Zero Waste Scotland.
Kingâ€™s College London and Imperial College London are both being funded by PHE to carry out the research, which was first announced in January 2013. The aim of the study is to extend the evidence base on potential incinerator health impacts, such as low birth weight, still births and infant mortality.
In a statement issued last week, Dr Simon Bouffler, deputy director of PHEâ€™s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, said: â€œIt was originally envisaged that preliminary results for this study would be available by March 2014 but because of the unanticipated complexity in gathering data this has been delayed. A paper with preliminary results is now expected to be published in 2015.
â€œIt is import to stress that Public Health Englandâ€™s position that well run and regulated modern municipal waste incinerators are not a significant risk to public health remains valid, and the study is being carried out to extend the evidence base and to provide further information to the public on this subject.â€
Previous postponements to the publication of the study last year promoted anti-incineration campaign group Breathe Clean Air Group (BCAG) to suggest government was attempting to hide the health impact findings (see airqualitynews.com story). https://airqualitynews.wpengine.com/2014/02/03/cover-up-claim-as-incinerator-study-postponed/