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PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: February 20, 2002

Report by French Government Bodies says Incinerators Cause Damaged Babies

 Environment Minister Called to Take Responsibility for Incinerator Poisons

In light of recent revelations of the existence of an official French epidemiological study1 which clearly links waste incinerators with birth deformities, CHASE are demanding that Environment Minister Martin Cullen takes judicial responsibility for any waste incinerator built in Ireland.

The report - entitled Risk Of Congenital Anomalies In The Vicinity Of Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators - was carried out by two French Government appointed organisations in conjunction with the European Institute of Genomutations2, and was revealed by French Sunday newspaper, Journal du Dimanche on January 21st, 2003.

The report concludes that

·         Globally, significant risks for the exposed populations are observed for two types of deformities i.e Chromosomal Anomalies and ‘Other Major Deformities’ - mainly facial clefts, renal dysplasia, and megacolon. (These are, among other things, deformities of the face, kidney and sex.)”

·         Within exposed communities, the risk for obstructive uropaties increases in line with exposure [to incinerator]. 

A spokesperson for CHASE said  “Waste incineration will be the asbestos of the 21st century, and Minister Cullen has the choice now, either to exclude incinerators from the waste management mix, or face a judgment in a few years time for poisoning.  Minister Cullen continues to maintain that incineration is not a dangerous option and we are challenging him to take legal responsibility for his words if he really believes them”.

-----   ENDS   ----

1Summary report attached

2 Study carried out by the following:

(a) Institut National de la Sante et Recherche Medicale, Rennes; C Chevrier & S Cordier

(b) Institut Européen des Génomutations, Lyon; E Robert-Gnansia

(c) Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire des Produits de Sante, Paris; C Lorente

(a)  National Institute of Health and Mecical Research - mandated jointly by the French Department of Health and the French Department of Research.  Researches new medical products for licensing.

(b)    (b)     European Institute of Genomutations. 

(c)    (c)    French Regulatory Body for Health Care Products – Government body whose brief includes making decisions in the name of the State with regard to health and medical products for human use or consumption.

For further information contact:

Linda FitzPatrick, CHASE PRO   Tel: 021 4374506  Mobile : 087 7410849

For comment contact:

Sean Cronin, Chairperson, CHASE    Mobile: 087 6777358

Risk Of Congenital Anomalies In The Vicinity Of Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators

Study Authors:

(1)        Institut National de la Sante et Recherche Medicale, Rennes; C Chevrier & S Cordier

(2)        Institut Européen des Génomutations, Lyon; E Robert-Gnansia

(3)        Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire des Produits de Sante, Paris; C Lorente

(4)        (1)                National Institute of Health and Mecical Research - mandated jointly by the French Department of Health and the French Department of Research.  Researches new medical products for licensing.

(5)        (2)     European Institute of Genomutations. 

(6)        (3)               French Regulatory Body for Health Care Products – Government body whose brief includes making decisions in the name of the State with regard to health and medical products for human use or consumption.

This study by the above French Government and European bodies was carried out on one of the biggest regions of the country (Rhone Alps) and covers 70 incinerators.

The following extract*, presented at a conference of French epidemiologists, concludes that incineration is officially responsible for the birth of a significant number of deformed babies. 

Summary Findings

The authors conclude high and significant risk was found for two key types of deformities:

§                        §         "Globally, significant risks for the exposed populations are observed for two types of deformities: 

- Chromosomal Anomalies

- Other Major Deformities - mainly facial clefts, renal dysplasia, and megacolon. (These are, among other things, deformities of the face, kidney and sex.)”

§                        §         Both chromosomal and other major anomalies (mainly facial clefts, renal dysplasia, and megacolon) were more frequent in the exposed than the non-exposed communities. 

§                        §         Within exposed communities, a dose-response trend of risk with increasing exposure was observed for obstructive uropathies. 

§                        §         Risks of cardiac anomalies, renal dysplasia, obstructive uropathies and skin anomalies increased in line with road traffic density.

Background & Methodology

It appears indisputable that municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) increases the overall environmental load of particulate matter containing dioxins and metals.  However, official evidence of health consequences to populations was previously limited.  The following analysis methods were used:

§                        §         Communities surrounding 70  incinerators having operated at least one year in the region during the study period (1988-1997) were examined. 

§                        §         The birth defects registry for ‘Centre-Est’ France was used to assess at regional level the impact of these emissions on birth defect rates.  Almost 11,000 birth defects (over 1.5%) in a sample size of 727,276 deliveries were registered.

§                        §         Each exposed municipality (N=196) was assigned an exposure index estimated from a Gaussian plume model.   196 of 2879 communities were considered exposed.

§                        §         With Poisson models and a reference population of the 2683 unexposed communities in the region, relative risks for congenital malformations were adjusted for year of birth, maternal age, population density, socio-economic factors and local road traffic for exposed communities. 

§                        §         Additional information was gained from the communities themselves.

These findings corroborate those of earlier reports published in British and European Medical Journals (see attached summaries.)

                                      

*The full study has not yet been published.
 
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