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Chemicals in Irish bird's eggs traced to Welsh incinerator

This was the heading of an article in last Sunday's Sunday Times.  It stated that "pollutants from an incinerator in Wales have been found in birds' eggs in the southwest of Ireland by researchers at National University of Ireland, Cork.  Scientists discovered traces of the chemicals in a study of birds' eggs in Cork, Kerry and Waterford, indicating the long-distance effects of the waste disposal".

"Dr. John O'Halloran, a researcher at the Environmental Research Institute in Cork said:  "The amounts present, although small, are of concern because you have a pollutant appearing that should not be there at all, and appearing in all the eggs right across the survey which points to it being air-borne and having been diffused over a wide area."

"Scientists believe the PCBs they found were released by an incinerator in Pontypool, south Wales.  The plant was opened in 1974 and disposed of thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste each year.  It closed in 2002 after a long-running campaign by locals who claimed it was releasing dangerous toxins into the environment.  Shanks Chemicals, the company which managed the plant, said the closure was due to a decline in the market."

"There are a number of small-scale commercial incinerators in Ireland with a further five large plants proposed to deal with municipal waste.  An Environmental Protection Agency report in December last year found that disposal of waste by incinerator is the preferred option ahead of the continued use of landfills.

A recent study by the Food Safety Authority concluded that the levels of dioxins in Irish-produced foods was extremely low and posed no risk to consumers. It also supported the development of "properly run" incinerators."

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