IT IS A GLOBAL CONVERSATION FROM ICELAND TO INDONESIA BETWEEN THE FILM STAR JEREMY IRONS AND SCIENTISTS, POLITICIANS AND ORDINARY INDIVIDUALS WHOSE HEALTH AND LIVELIHOODS HAVE BEEN FUNDAMENTALLY AFFECTED BY WASTE POLLUTION.
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EUROPE // Women living within three kilometers (two miles) of a hazardous waste landfill site have a 40 percent greater risk of conceiving a child with a chromosomal birth defect, such as Down's syndrome. The findings are a companion to 1998 results suggesting a 33 percent increase in the risk of non-chromosomal birth anomalies such as spina bifida. Both studies were carried out under the European Commission funded "Eurohazcon" project, and involved epidemiological research in the vicinities of 23 landfills accepting hazardous waste in Denmark, Italy, Belgium, France and England.
UK // The impact of environmental pollution on congenital anomalies. (An Eurohazcon study)
UK // Small Area Health Statistics Unit Study (August 2001): Some 80% of the British population lives within 2 km of known landfill sites in Great Britain. We found small excess risks of congenital anomalies and low and very low birth weight in populations living near landfill sites. Further studies are needed to help differentiate between the various possibilities.
UK // Who does the Environment Agency Protect?
USA // Fires, there are around 8,300 (landfill) fires a year and in the UK around 280 to 300. Research in Finland revealed that landfill sites have an average 60% chance of a fire each year. Many sites had no fires; some had 6 in one year. A serious landfill fire results in the downgrading of a controlled landfill to uncontrolled status, or in practical terms the waste mass becomes inadvertently reconnected to the environment. All the costs and effort of engineering a perfect containment system are wasted if fugitive emissions, often including dioxin and untreated leachate, are released through a perforated cap or liner Landfill fires emit a toxic cocktail of "Most Wanted" fugitive gases including formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen oxides and many others (OEPA, 2006). Visible smoke might not be visible since compacted waste acts as a good particulate filter, but fugitive gases are able to percolate towards the surface. A particular problem with smoke, which is largely unburned carbon, is particles that have become activated, in the form of an adsorbent, with a huge appetite for mopping-up "Most wanted" contaminants. Very small particles, known as Sub PM2.5s (smaller than 2.5 millionths of a meter in diameter) are capable of remaining airborne for days, and together with adsorbed contaminants will pass directly into the bloodstream once inhaled.
UK // Operator estimates of how many sites have sub surface fires at any time ranged from 50 - 100%, with most estimating that about 80% of all landfills in the UK have a deep seated fire at any time.
UK // Report finds catalogue of breaches at Welbeck.
UK // Environment Agency find incinerator fly ash outside Wingmoor Farm hazardous waste site: "Four samples collected in a field opposite the site entrance showed APC residues present in the dust".
UK // Response to Environment Agency Dust Monitoring at Wingmoor Farm (Dr A Tubb August 2011) "So far as the dioxins and furans are concerned the levels found in the dust samples from Wingmoor Farm are considerably higher than the levels found in rural soils. In some cases the Wingmoor Farm dust is many thousands of times higher. The same can be seen for most of the PCB data. There is therefore no doubt that dust that has been found escaping from the Wingmoor Farm (noted in previous reports) is contributing to contamination of the local soils and allowing dioxins and furans and PCBs to enter the food chain."
UK // Environmental Impact of Coastal and Estuarine Landfills in South England (2008)
UK // Influence of a collapsed coastal landfill on metal levels in sediments and biota - a portent for the future? (Pope et al 2011)
UK // Comprehensive anti-incinerator ash dump campaign submission
BRUSSELS // A new study reveals that incinerators already operating in some EU states have the capacity to burn more than the non-recyclable waste generated. Still, industry is pushing to further expand incineration capacity in the European region.
UK // Corby families win court case linking birth defects to contamination
30 July 2009
Sixteen families won a high court case that ascertained a highly likely link between birth defects and exposure to contaminants from the clean up and reclamation of the Corby steelworks between 1983 and 1997
UK // Enforcement for Scotgen after further dioxin breach
UK // Rise in emissions of ten air pollutants
SPAIN // Cancer mortality in towns in the vicinity of incinerators and installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste.
EUROPE // The Paris Appeal, an international declaration on the public health dangers of chemical pollution, was launched on May 7, 2004 and initiated by the cancer research organisation ARTAC during a first Congress organized at UNESCO in Paris. This Appeal has now been signed by thousands of scientists, several Novel Prizes in Medicine, the medical governing bodies of the 25 EU member states at the time (the EU now includes 27 member states), which amounts to over 2 million European doctors, by close to 1,500 non-governmental organizations and approximately 350,000 European citizens.
The three articles of the Paris Appeal:
Article 1 : The development of numerous current diseases is a result of the deterioration of the environment.
Article 2 : Chemical pollution represents a serious threat to children and to Man's survival.
Article 3 : As our own health, that of our children and future generations, is under threat, the Human race itself is in serious danger.
EUROPE // In 2006, the second Congress of the Paris Appeal brought together about a thousand doctors, scientists, environmentalists and representatives of the civil society. Cancer research organisation ARTAC presented a Memorandum stating 164 practical measures drawn up by 68 international specialists in an attempt to curb chemical pollution in our environment and the numerous chronic diseases and affections that result from it. Measure 145: " a ban on the building of any new incinerator and on any new authorization of co-incineration".
EUROPE // Contamination of livestock due to the operation of a small waste incinerator: a case incident in Skutulsfjörður, Iceland, in 2010.
UK // PM 2.5 emissions not continuously monitored; whistleblower reporting tests are fixed. (Original report from Private Eye April 2012)
UK // Dioxin emissions may be up to eight times higher when continuously monitored. (April 2006)
BELGIUM // Dioxin emissions underestimated by a factor of 30 to 50. (De Fre, Wevers 1998)
UK // Hundreds of incinerator breaches go unpunished. (Guardian May 2001)
UK // Other substances such as dioxins and furans and metals cannot be measured continuously...The levels of dioxins and furans and metals in emissions are measured periodically (typically two or four times per year) to ensure that the expected performance is being maintained. Review of research into health effects of Energy from Waste facilities.
Report for Environmental Services Association. (January 2012)
USA // Covanta - repeated fines for emissions breaches, including for exceeding the allowable emission rate for dioxins and furans at its incinerator in Pittsfield by nearly 350% in 2007.
JAPAN // Higher emissions during start-up: Characteristics of dioxin emissions at start-up and shut-down of MSW incinerators. (Tejima, Hajime et al 2007)
SCOTLAND // Dumfries incinerator breaches emission limits 284 times (Feb 2011) though not dioxin levels: 284 notifications of short term ELV (Emission Value Limit) breaches: 19 VOC / 51 CO / 84 low temp at Secondary Combustion Chamber exit / 106 low O2 / 6 NO2 / 8 SO2 / 3 HCl / 7 dust.
Search for: SCOTGEN (DUMFRIES) LTD DARGAVEL ENERGY FROM WASTE FACILITY SITE STATUS REPORT V6
FRANCE // Viel JF, Arveux P, Baverel J, Cahn JY. (2000) Soft-tissue sarcoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma clusters around a municipal solid waste incinerator with high dioxin emission levels. (Am J Epidemiol. 152(1):13-19)
FRANCE // Cancer Village Fights for Justice over Incinerator. (May 2005)
ITALY // Sarcoma risk and dioxin emissions from incinerators and industrial plants: a population-based case-control study (Zambon et al 2007) "Our study supports the association between modelled dioxin exposure and sarcoma risk."
ARCTIC // Inuits and Cancer fact sheets: soaring levels of lung and some other cancers.
ARCTIC // Dioxin-like activity in Inuit population ten times higher than in Danish volunteers.
EUROPE // European Dioxin Air Emission Inventory Project - final results: Municipal waste incineration expected to be second most important contributor to dioxin emissions in Europe. (May 2003)
VIETNAM // Dioxin levels in Vietnam 14 years after the spraying of Agent Orange: higher levels in the heavily sprayed south.
UK // Friends of the Earth briefing on incinerator ash.
UK // Newsnight investigation into dumped incinerator ash - levels of dioxin the same as in Vietnam soil after the spraying of Agent Orange (2001).
EUROPE // The incineration of municipal solid wastes has experienced a rapid decrease of PCDD/F emissions to air due to abatement measures and plant closures during the last decade...depending on the type of abatement measures installed dioxin emissions via residues and waste water streams are likely to occur. These emissions (to land and water) may further increase in future if the capacities of municipal solid waste incineration were enlarged as a result of decreasing space suitable for land-filling. (European Dioxin Inventory Stage II Volume 1 Page 37)
EUROPE // Doctors' organisations write to the European parliament (2008) "...we are sadly surprised that the rapporteur of the Waste Framework Directive, Ms Caroline Jackson, claims that the health effects from incinerators are negligible. Several recent studies of wide samples of population continue to reveal the threat that incinerators pose to human health in Europe and around the world. Ultrafine particles emissions are still not monitored anywhere in Europe, even though the danger these particles pose is well documented...We, the undersigned organisations, represent over 33,000 doctors."
GERMANY // Exposure to nanoparticles about one-thousandth the width of a human hair produces changes in heart rate and rhythm typical of heart disease. (August 2011)
USA // The concentration-response relation between PM(2.5) and daily deaths."The magnitude of the association suggests that controlling fine particle pollution would result in thousands of fewer early deaths per year." (Schwartz et al 2002)
UK // The (incinerator) filters are designed to remove between 95 and 98% of PM10 particulates and between 65 and 70% of PM2.5 particulates. (Environment Agency spokesperson, January 2010 )
UK // Freedom of Information Request to the Environmental Agency confirms that the 'best available practice' filters remove between 65 and 70 percent of PM 2.5. After that the filters "are less efficent removing between 5 and 30 percent of the finer particulates". (Page 10)
USA // An association between air pollution and mortality in six U.S. cities. (Dockery and Pope 1993) "Mortality was most strongly associated with air pollution with fine particulates, including sulfates."
UK // Health Protection Agency: The Impact on Health of Emissions to Air from Municipal Waste Incinerators (September 2009) Both long-term exposure and short-term increases in exposure to particles can damage health. This is widely accepted (World Health Organization, 2006). Long term exposure affects the risk of mortality, especially from cardiovascular disease and from lung cancer (COMEAP, 2009, COMEAP, 2006; Health Effects Institute, 2000). Short-term increases in concentrations cause cardio-respiratory effects including an increase in deaths from heart attacks and from respiratory disease, increased hospital admissions for treatment of these disorders and increases in related symptoms.
SWEDEN // One incinerator estimated to be contributing 32 percent of PM2.5s to atmosphere: EDXRF characterisation of elemental contents in PM2.5 in a medium-sized Swedish city dominated by a modern waste incineration plant (Aboh et al 2006) .
SWEDEN // Challenged by ESA: "In fact, the identification of incineration was no more than a tentative indication based on an assumed and potentially inaccurate emissions profile. As clarified in a subsequent paper (Laursen et al., 2009), the study technique could not uniquely identify the incinerator as a source of PM2.5, and conclusions were limited to a finding that identification of some point sources might be possible." Paper referred to states: "Even with the relative small data set the source 'wind radar plots' together with selected variables indicate that the identification of some of the (point) sources might be possible".
BELGIUM // Sexual maturation in relation to polychlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons: Sharpe and Skakkebaek's hypothesis revisited. (Den Hond et al 2002) ."In one suburb near two waste incinerators, compared with the other suburb and the control area, fewer boys (p <0.001) had reached the adult stages of genital development (62% vs. 92% and 100%, respectively) and pubic hair growth (48% vs. 77% and 100%). Also, in the same suburb, fewer girls (p = 0.04) had reached the adult stage of breast development (67% vs. 90% and 79%).
USA // Harrisburg file for bankruptcy over incinerator debt (October 2011)
HOLLAND // Persistent hematologic and immunologic disturbances in 8-year-old Dutch children associated with perinatal dioxin exposure.
HOLLAND // Toxic effects of dioxins, PCB's and PBDE's in adolescents.
VIETNAM // Association between Agent Orange and birth defects: systematic review and meta-analysis (Ngo, Tayler et al 2006). Conclusion: Parental exposure to Agent Orange appears to be associated with an increased risk of birth defects.
VIETNAM // Dioxin Reservoirs in Southern Vietnam - A legacy of Agent Orange (Dwernychuck et al 2002)
VIETNAM // Agent Orange in Vietnam: A summary of dioxin findings from Vietnam (Schechter 2005) The highest levels in human milk (1,850 parts per trillion) have been found in Vietnam. Schechter 2006: However we are not convinced that Vietnamese investigations linking congenital malformations to dioxin are, as yet, more than suggestive. We know of no non-Vietnamese studies linking herbicide or dioxin exposure to congenital malformations other than spina bifida and anencephaly.
(SCHECHTER 2008): Although the health or epidemiology research from Vietnam on cancer and birth defects is not considered conclusive by Western scientists, it has been shown from other studies that dioxins are toxic and can cause, in sensitive people and when the amount of exposure is high enough, cancer, immune deficiency, nervous system damage including lower IQ and emotional problems, endocrine disruption including diabetes, thyroid problems, sex hormone disorders, liver damage, reproductive and developmental pathologies, and death from heart attacks in highly exposed workers. (Statement to the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment on the impact of Agent Orange from Arnold Schecter, MD, MPH Professor, Environmental and Occupational Medical Sciences University of Texas School of Public Health, Dallas Regional Campus,Dallas, Texas May 13, 2008)
HOLLAND // Dioxins and Cardiovascular disease mortality (Humblet, Birnbaum et al 2008).
GENEVA // World health Organization, 'Dioxin and Its Effects on Human Health' (Fact Sheet #225, Geneva, November 2007)
UK // Transport and release of chemicals from plastics to the environment and to wildlife (2009) Both a mathematical model using equilibrium partitioning and experimental data have demonstrated the transfer of contaminants from plastic to benthic organisms. A feeding experiment suggested that PCBs transfer from contaminated plastics to Streaked Shearwater chicks. (ROYAL SOCIETY)
NORTHERN PACIFIC // A Comparison of Plastic and Plankton in the North Pacific Central Gyre .
UK // One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics. Within just a few decades since mass production of plastic products commenced in the 1950s, plastic debris has accumulated in terrestrial environments, in the open ocean, on shorelines of even the most remote islands and in the deep sea. (ROYAL SOCIETY)
NORTHERN PACIFIC // Quantitation of persistent organic pollutants adsorbed on plastic debris from the Northern Pacific Gyre eastern garbage patch. (Rios et al 2010)
HONOLULU // STRATEGY: Plastic Poisoning in Oceans
NORTHERN PACIFIC // Fish Ingestion of Microplastics: Study. (Charles Moore et al 2009)
NORTHERN PACIFIC // The Midway Media Project (2012): On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch.
USA // Quantity and type of plastic debris flowing from two urban rivers to coastal waters and beaches of Southern California.
CANADA // Under Canadian law, a PCB level of 500 parts per million (ppm) is considered toxic waste, and PCB levels in St. Lawrence belugas range from 240 ppm to 800 ppm .
UK // Degradation of plastic carrier bags in the marine environment.
JAPAN // Pellet Watch: Global Monitoring of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) using Beached Plastic Resin Pellets. (H Takada)
WORLD // Organic micropollutants in marine plastics debris from the open ocean and remote and urban beaches .
UK // Multiple ocean stresses threaten "globally significant" marine extinction. (2011)
ARCTIC // Revolatilization of persistent organic pollutants in the Arctic induced by climate change. (2011)
UK // Relationships between polychlorinated biphenyls and health status in Harbor Porpoises (Phocoena Phocoena) stranded in the United Kingdom.
UK // The Risk of Infection From Polychlorinated Biphenyl Exposure In Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena Phocoena) - A Case-Control Approach.
UK // Chlorobiphenyls in the blubber of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) from the UK: Levels and trends 1991-2005.
DENMARK // An overview on current contaminant loads in marine mammals inhabiting the ICES Area is presented within this report, and highlights (regions and) marine mammal populations at highest risk from environmental exposure. Further, the cause-effect relationships between contaminants and health status, and the population‐level effects of environmental impacts were also assessed.
NORTHERN PACIFIC // High PCB concentrations in free-ranging Pacific killer whales, Orcinus orca: Effect of age, sex and dietary preference. (Marine Pollution Bulletin 40:504-515)
EUROPE // Europe and Chemicals (2006) In the EU, more than 100,106 chemicals were reported to be on the market in 1981, which was the first and only time that the chemicals used in the EU were listed. For 99 % of chemicals (by volume), information on properties, uses and risks is sketchy. Chemicals produced in high volumes (above 1 000 tonnes per year) have been examined more closely. Still, there are no data for about 21 % of those, and another 65 % come with insufficient data .
USA // In 1998 a report of the US Environmental Protection Agency indicated that no information on toxicity was available for 43% of HPV chemicals produced or imported in US (an amount higher than 1 million tons per year) and that a full set of toxicity data was available only for a 7% of the whole - US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. Chemical hazard data. Availability study. What do we really know about the safety of high production volume chemicals?
Washington DC (USEPA 1998)
USA // People with high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in their blood are 38 times more likely to have diabetes than those with the lowest exposure, according to an analysis of data collected in the US
EUROPE/USA // Mothers’ exposure to environmental contamination can affect the health of their offspring, a joint Italian and US study has shown. Babies born to mothers with a history of high exposure to dioxins suffered from decreased thyroid function
EUROPE // Breast-fed sons have reduced sperm quality when their mothers are exposed to low doses of dioxins, Italian scientists have reported.
ITALY // Exponential growth of new chemicals and evolution of information relevant to risk control. (2008)
WORLD // WILDLIFE FUND: 400 million tonnes of man-made chemicals produced every year.
USA // A 2005 study by the Environmental Working Group detected 287 commercial chemicals, pesticides, and pollutants in the umbilical cord blood from 10 newborn infants, randomly selected by the Red Cross from U.S. hospitals.
USA // The National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and FDA have some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children. (March 2012)
WORLD // An Extensive New Literature Concerning Low-Dose Effects of Bisphenol A Shows the Need for a New Risk Assessment (vom Saal, Hughes 2005) BPA is one of the highest-volume chemicals produced worldwide; global BPA capacity in 2003 was 2,214,000 metric tons with 6-10% growth in demand expected per year (Burridge 2003). ....Of a total of 115 published studies with low doses of BPA below the prior LOAEL of 50 mg/kg/day that we accessed via a PubMed search at the end of December 2004, there have been 94 published studies reporting in vivo estrogenic activity of BPA. Of the 94 low-dose studies reporting significant effects, 31 published studies have reported effects caused by doses of BPA at and below the reference dose of 50 μg/kg/day. Rate of growth and sexual maturation, hormone levels in blood, reproductive organ function, fertility, immune function, enzyme activity, brain structure, brain chemistry, and behavior are all affected by exposure to low doses of BPA.