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Waste incinerator emissions study pushed to 2017

Findings of a series of studies into the potential impacts of waste incinerators on human health are now expected to be presented for review in Spring 2017 – rather than 2016, a government minister has confirmed.

A study into the effects of emissions from energy-from-waste (EfW) plants on human health was first announced in 2012 – with findings initially expected in March 2014.

The PHE project is looking at the health impacts of municipal waste incinerator emissions

The PHE project is looking at the health impacts of municipal waste incinerator emissions

The work is being funded by Public Health England (PHE) and is being carried out by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) at Imperial College and the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London.

However, because of “unanticipated complexity in gathering dataâ€? the publication date has subsequently been delayed several times. In March, Dr Ovnair Sepai, principal toxicologist at PHE revealed that papers from the project were expected to be submitted to peer reviewed journals before the end of 2016 (see AirQualityNews.com story).

Progress

However, Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health has this week revealed that the project is now expected to be completed in ‘spring 2017’.

Responding yesterday (October 25) to a written question on the status of the project by the MP for Halton Derek Twigg, she confirmed that the work remains ‘ongoing’.

She wrote: “Public Health England funded study by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) at Imperial College and the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London investigating the potential link between emissions from municipal waste incinerators and health outcomes is ongoing. It is expected that papers from the project will be submitted by SAHSU to peer reviewed journals in spring 2017, and papers to be published later in the year.â€?

The research project is made up of a number of review papers looking at the different possible human health impacts of waste incinerators, with King’s College London and Imperial College London both being funded by PHE and Zero Waste Scotland to carry out the research.

In total, the project involves examining areas of up to 5km around 22 incinerators across England, as well as the Dundee Energy Recycling Ltd EfW in Scotland.

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