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CHASE Press Release - 12-05-09
- Dutch Paediatrician Warns Of Dioxin Damage At Low Doses
- Top UCC Professor Speaks Out for People of Cobh
- Midwives Warn of Danger to Breast Fed Babies

Health was the focus of today's Oral Hearing in to the proposed Ringaskiddy Incinerator, with evidence presented by Dutch Paediatrician Dr Gavin Ten Tuscher, who specialises in Paediatrics and Neonoatology; Prof Colin Bradley, Head of General Practice at UCC and Chris Brownlow, Irish Midwives Association.

In contrast to the 2003 Oral Hearing, An Bord Pleanala is now obliged to take health impacts into account, due to the implementation of relevant EU legislation.

Citing several studies on control groups, and various international reports, Gavin Ten Tuscher told the hearing of the effects of dioxin exposure - even at exposure levels lower than EU acceptable limits - which includes certain cancers; birth defects, misscarriages and premature births; haematological and immunological problems; altered endocrine and hormonal systems; thyroid, liver and respiratory problems, and delays in reaching puberty.

Dr Ten Tusher cited a study intiated in the Netherlands to study possible effects of highly toxic dioxins on reproduction. Effects on thyroid hormone metabolism, liver, haematology and immunology were found in newborns, and persistent effects were seen. The data of the follow-up study during puberty (13-18 years) show signs of endocrine disruption, including a delay in breast development in girls in association with higher prenatal dioxin exposure.

Further studies initiated as a result of this study had similar outcomes, and showed even a low dose background environmental dioxin exposure has negative health effects spanning many years and possibly generations.

Dr Ten Tusher said, "I would like to emphasise the fact that I have limited myself to the effects seen in dioxin and PCB exposures, but it must be borne in mind that particulate matter, miniscule particles escaping the chimneys, are also a major threat to children's health, having been associated with pulmonary problems, including asthma".

PROF Colin Bradley, Head of General Practice, UCC, who has a practice in Cobh, spoke of his obligation to represent the health of his patients, and that of the people in Cobh.

Prof Bradley said that the Cobh population already has a burden of poor health, due to socio-economic and other past environmental factors, and this already vulnerable population in Cobh is one that would want a safeguard from any future health risk. He referred to his experience in general practice in this regard, and said that the National Cancer Registry (Summer 2008) statistics are a source of disquiet – cancer levels are already 44% above the national average.

Prof Bradley also highlighted that the proposed incinerator is already having an effect on the mental health of his patients, and drew attention to risk perception guidelines, which have not been adhered to. He said “7 years ago the 2002 HRB (Health Review Board) Report recognized the legitimacy of risk perception, and detailed best practice recommendations on how to handle risk perception for facilities like this. Indaver constantly say they are big on Best Practice, but quite frankly I haven’t seen it. The HRB recommendations have been completely ignored, I have no confidence in their air modeling, and I remain skeptical about the rest of their claims to Best Practice. “

Chris Brownlow spoke on behalf of the Irish Midwives Association and said that the concerns of the Irish Midwives Association were family, with a particular focus on breast fed babies who are at maximum risk from environmental contaminants such as dioxin.


Mary O’Leary, 086 8177737, 021 4811952
Mary Hurley, 086 8162448, 021 4803070
Linda FitzPatrick, 087 7410849, 021 4374506


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email -
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