REPORT for PUBLIC INQUIRY
regarding NEWHAVEN proposed incinerator site.
Dr. Dick van Steenis MBBS
19 November 2007 & amended 24 November at inspector’s request.
PRESENTATION 23 November 2007
As a retired NHS GP, I have been involved in research into health damage resulting from industrial air pollution since January 1995, have spoken at 4 international medical conferences (2 USA, 2 UK) and been published in 4 peer-reviewed medical literature. I have spoken at public inquiries and public meetings leading to withdrawal/cancellation of incinerators, co-incinerators, badly sited opencasting & waste sites. I have no conflicts of interests unlike relevant government agents. I was asked for advice by the Canadian Department of Health who acted on my advice concerning a power station health problem. I have spoken with key UK & USA researchers including Professor Dockery, Joel Schwartz, Dr. Spengler, Dr.D. Costa, Dr. Perera and many others.
Along with my colleague Michael Ryan, we have been mapping out childhood asthma incidence, infant mortality, suicides, cancer incidence, age-standardised mortality, low birth weight and other parameters mostly at electoral ward level using data from ONS, PCTs and individually obtained. These prove that downwind of PM2.5 emitting sites incidence of a large list of diseases and premature deaths at all ages are very much higher than upwind. Our findings plus surveys in USA, France, Belgium & Scotland back up proof by the Health Effects Institute report of May 2000 that it is PM2.5 inhalation that causes this health damage and deaths NOT deprivation, passive smoking or other wild unsubstantiated allegations (“spin”) made by the UK government spokespeople. The HEI comprises 4 USA/Canada universities plus USEPA. Following that May 2000 report the USEPA successfully prosecuted 10 power companies, 6 oil companies & a steel company to install more abatement &/or new plant to reduce PM2.5 exposure. A Harvard follow-up report in 2006 proved there was a reduction of 3% of total deaths for every 1ug/m3 reduction in ambient PM2.5 levels. In 2000 in the UK in stark contrast Mr. Prescott downgraded IPPC to “anything will do” effectively removing air pollution & health damage from the agenda. As would be expected the relevant disease rates and premature deaths downwind have soared.
Ryan’s investigations reveal ONS data proves infant mortality in London in zones of wards downwind was 9.0/1000 births in 2003/5 compared with 1.3 upwind. No incinerator was exempt. There were 40 wards in 2003/6 with zero infant deaths–all of them clear of incinerators. Outside London the same pattern appears even the Veolia Basingstoke incinerator with a block of 11 zero infant mortality wards upwind with a block of 8 wards downwind typically 7.8/1000 births The infant deaths extend some 15 miles as predicted by my findings. Childhood asthma incidence from a co-incinerator in Telford was 2% upwind & 25 to 100% downwind. Most suicides were downwind. Clinical depression was 900% higher downwind compared with upwind of the oil complex in Milford Haven waterway & also was up downwind in Telford & beyond. Heart attack deaths around Tower Hamlets in East London were recorded as 240% of the national average, downwind of Lewisham SELCHP and Edmonton incinerators. Of the London infant mortality 7 of the highest wards are downwind of Edmonton. Harrow had worst infant mortality in London 2003/5 being downwind of 3 incinerators. My 2 page summary with the map lists the consequences on health clearly.
Research based on hard measurements published by Harvard & USEPA in journals & a book reveals coal burning emits PM5 particles but only those below PM3 enter the lungs. Research was complete on PM2.5s in USA by 1996 hence the USEPA PM2.5 law under the Clean Air Act in 1997 and tightening of a limit in 2006. The UK only measures PM10 down to PM4 (called PM10), NONE of which enters the lungs while instruments are also adjusted downwards to deceive the public. In Brighton at the Hollingdean site in June 2007 PM2.5s must have been adjusted to read MINUS 106ug.m3 and PM1s also to read minus 160ug/m3 . In USA reduction in PM2.5s by 2003 had saved $193billion in just hospital costs and days off work, seven times the cost of the abatement/new equipment. As there will not be any PM2.5 monitoring downwind of a Newhaven incinerator, levels could be extremely high where grounding occurs. Burning of coal with waste produces PM2.2 emissions but burning oils PM2.0 and burning of bitumen mixes PM1 emissions. It is the varied very toxic content of PM2.5s from incinerators that makes the effects of inhalation worse. PM2.5s & PM1s get through the abatement equipment, which include vaporised heavy metals, PAHs, dioxins etc. etc. many of which cause mutations leading to birth defects & cancers. The evidence of my colleague & myself prove that these modern incinerator emissions are very deadly causing maiming and killing. The St. Niklaas Belgian incinerator operating under the same EC directives reduced lifespan by 12 years including a rise in cancers over a 20 year span of 470% above the national rise. In Slough PCT area the SMR rose from 88 to 121 during the first 11 years of the Colnbrook incinerator while asthma, heart deaths, lung cancer & probably diabetes soared to highest incidence in the south-east.
A letter from the Sussex Downs & Weald PCT dated 10 February 2006 gave consent for this Newhaven incinerator to the Environment Agency. Neither that letter, nor the 2 relevant Health Protection Agency reports, nor the DEFRA statement (challenged by Royal Society for lack of data) has a single proper journal reference or any health or PM2.5 data. They comprise SPIN!!!! Even DEFRA now admit in their 16 July 2007 report that PM2.5s cause premature deaths and illnesses including cardiovascular & respiratory. On 12 September 2003 I was present as observer at a meeting of 5 public health directors plus 2 HPA doctors. Not a single one knew the subject or had tried to be up to date. My report has 338 journal references in stark contrast with health & PM2.5 data. The HPA who gives advice to public health doctors had a document in 2003 in use until late 2005, which said to pass everything as long as forms had been filled in to councils WITHOUT A SINGLE MENTION OF HEALTH. In April 2005 HPA had a meeting where R. Harrison advised them not to do any new health study of incinerators but to keep the Elliott one (not in a proper journal). It compared some of those affected with others affected in a circular manner instead of downwind compared with upwind. It looked for cancers diagnosed within 10 years (instead of 20) to keep numbers down & then adjusted fraudulently for deprivation to reduce residual effect. I would call it deception. They only looked at incinerators of 1960s vintage when coal would have been fuel with content being less hazardous. So in late 2005 HPA issued their current guidance still without data, proper references or distance at risk. Harvard studies published in 1996 and others at St. Helens and a Porton Down study, all based on measurements, revealed that for every 100 foot of chimney height PM2.5s ground at enough concentration to have health effects within 7 miles. Hence those downwind of Newhaven are at real risk of being maimed or killed at up to 15 miles. My map is in my summary report. The highest risk is halfway namely Lewes with a frequent SE wind. In Dyfed the worst asthma incidence was at Whitland with 38% of children aged 4 to 5 years diagnosed chronic asthmatic compared with only 1% along upwind Cardigan Bay. Modelling must be based on these proven measurements, confirmed by the London infant death pattern. Examination of the recent Olympic site fire photograph attached reveals that particles can be seen on the underneath of the plume grounding at several miles from the site.
The PCT admit not undertaking a detailed health impact assessment as I have done in my summary. That failure is a very serious matter. The project contract is for 27 years plus extra time for cancers to be diagnosed so the PCT would be liable for consequential health costs for up to 47 years by signing consent. Owing to higher illness rates there will be lower productivity per worker & higher social security payments making inward investment very unattractive. Furthermore childrens’ IQ will drop up to 3 years in the affected wards (Perera report) leading to education blackspots seen elsewhere already. The so-called assessment is just wild assumptions devoid of fact when the PCT could have obtained health data from other PCTs affected by incinerators eg Edmonton, Slough & Newham (from SELCHP & Edmonton). Waltham forest PCT has already publicised excess ill health unrelated to income/deprivation. The London deprivation map is not remotely the same as the infant deaths or low birth weight (caused by PAHs etc). It is useless using COMEAP who are years out of date still believing in PM10s for political reasons, having conflicts of interest also no PM2.5 data. The PCT claims of no rise in grounding must refer to only PM10s, which would be removed in the abatement equipment, but PM10s do not get into the lungs and so are not the issue. It is nothing but deception to say emissions will contribute little to monitored (PM10) when the entire problem is unmonitored PM2.5s, totally unregulated, which have been proven to kill infants etc. downwind for 15 miles in London. The PCT do not have a clue. Guidelines are irrelevant as the UK has refused to follow the USEPA and the EC does not propose to enforce PM2.5 limits until 2015. The only accurate comment in the whole PCT report is that not only SW winds affect Newhaven while NW and SE are common in England. As the Environment Agency have written they know nothing about health and do not monitor PM2.5 or PM1 particulates, how can the PCT consent letter ask the EA to do these two things?? It is up to the PCT to check out the truth themselves. If the plant was erected I anticipate it would not be shut down for excess PM2.5s or maiming & killing. Instead, the PCT could cover it up as they did in Telford with secret meetings with the company to protect company profits while maiming and killing those the PCT doctors are ordered to protect by the General Medical Council. Even the BMA in 1999 ordered public health doctors to learn about these matters, but they have not. These PCT public health doctors could be struck off the register by the GMC for misleading the councils and Environment Agency while aiding and abetting indiscriminate killing and maiming. Who will pay the extra PCT cost of illnesses caused by an incinerator? In conclusion, the discredited PCT consent must be declared invalid and withdrawn which would then prevent the EA allowing the incinerator to proceed. In these circumstances of wilful deception by the PCT it would be criminal to allow the land requisition to proceed.
In addition an incinerator is not Best Available Technique or BATNEEC as mandated in IPPC. A plasma gasification plant as found in Ottawa & to be built in Michigan (by Veolia), Florida & Panama costs less to erect with a running cost of c.£23 per ton nett compared with incineration £63/ton plus £67/ton (EC quotes 100 euros) health/days off work bill to the taxpayer. Hence it is the economics of the madhouse to build this incinerator.