HUNDREDS of baby deaths a year are being linked to pollution emitted by public waste incinerators.
The report comes after a detailed analysis of death rates across the country.
Dr Dick van Steenis, a retired GP who helped head the study, said: “The incinerators are burning all sorts of material from domestic waste to hazardous chemical and radioactive waste.
“The danger comes from the particles released into the atmosphere. They are of a size that can be easily inhaled into the lung where they lodge and cause damage to the body.”
The data has been collected from the latest official statistics covering the years 2003 to 2005.
Dr van Steenis said that he had accounted for other factors that could increase the death rate such as social deprivation. He pointed out, for example, that “leafy middle-class areas” of west London were affected by emissions from a big incinerator at Colnbrook near Slough. In some parts around this plant infant mortality rates are treble the national average.
He said that while incinerator filters take out 99 per cent of particles, it is the ultra fine one per cent – the PM 2.5s – that can have chronic effects on health.
London Waste, which owns the Edmonton incinerator, said it had not seen the van Steenis report. A spokesman said: “We use a proven technology with a track record of safe operation and it is recognised throughout Europe as a safe and efficient method of energy generation.