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Irish Examiner - 17-01-04
Incinerator caused family’s birth problems, says Belgian man

By Michael Brennan – Irish Examiner

A BELGIAN man who blames incinerators for a series of miscarriages and birth defects in his family said the toxic waste incinerator in Ringaskiddy would be a “disaster for Cork”.Fred De Beare, who lives in Flanders, managed to have a local waste incinerator closed by the courts after several years of campaigning.

"I'm sorry to hear the Indaver incinerator has been approved because the effect of the smoke on the people will be disastrous," he said.

He visited the site two years ago and spoke in support of the Cork Alliance for a Safe Harbour (CHASE).

Mr De Beare's first wife suffered two miscarriages and then one of a pair of twins mysteriously died while the mother was eight months pregnant.

His second wife gave birth to a son, David, who is now nearly eight. But he was born a dwarf and today measures 92 cm, the average size of a two-year-old. The local university discovered it was caused by genetic mutation, of which there was no previous history in either family.

Mr De Beare began to investigate a household waste incinerator in his local town of Saint Nicklaas. His research found that genetic defects and cancer rates within a three-mile radius of the incinerator were almost five times the national average. The incinerator was later closed by the courts.

Mr De Beare has lost a separate court battle to prevent an Indaver incinerator being built near the town of Bereven, around 15 kilometres from his home.

Mr De Beare is leaving Belgium today with his wife, Kristina, to search for a new home in Spain. "The environmental situation here is so bad there are too many incinerators. Neither the environmental groups nor the Green Party want to do anything about it," he said.

However, Indaver said Mr De Beare's opinions on incinerators were contrary to the World Health Organisation, the Food Safety Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency.

"I think Fred's wrong. He would be well aware ... the incineration directive in Europe sets very strict operating conditions. If you don't operate to those conditions, you get shut down," said Indaver general manager John Ahern.

Indaver shut down a static kiln in its Antwerp incinerator in August 2002 due to dioxin emissions exceeding the directive.

"We fixed what was wrong, put it back in operation and now it's fully compliant again," said Mr Ahern.


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
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