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Irish Examiner - 16/02/05
Toxins deform babies, incinerator hearing told
By Mary Dundon, Political Reporter

TOXIC waste incinerators pose a serious health risk to babies and can cause deformed genitalia, cleft lips and learning difficulties in children, it was claimed yesterday.

East Cork for a Safe Environment chairman Allan Navratil said the decision to issue a licence must be revoked because of the known threats that incineration poses to our health and environment. He was giving evidence at the second day of an Environmental Protection Agency oral hearing into the granting of a draft licence for the development of the country’s first toxic waste incinerator in Ringaskiddy in Cork.

Mr Navratil said emissions from incinerators include dioxins and furzan, highly toxic chemicals that constitute a serious threat to health, especially in foetuses and young children.

Studies carried out by toxicologist, Dr Vyvien Howard of Liverpool University, found these dioxins had serious effects on foetuses whose mothers were exposed to them, Mr Navratil told the hearing.

“The defects included evidence of hare lips and in more serious cases the gender of the child could not be determined because of deformed genitalia,” Mr Navratil said.

The dioxins also had an effect on children’s learning, Mr Navratil said.

Another objector to the €93 million toxic waste incinerator, Natasha Harty, told the oral hearing that every interested government body had refused to take responsibility for human health in this case.

“How soon will it be until Irish mothers will be told, like the continental Europeans, that they must restrict breastfeeding their babies because dioxins tend to accumulate in mothers’ milk,” Ms Harty asked.

East Cork for a Safe Environment’s third objector, Peter North, said he had submitted a 65-page document to the EPA outlining why the toxic waste incinerator should not go ahead.

Indaver’s barrister, Paul Gardiner, said under the draft licence granted to the company, the projected emissions at the Ringaskiddy plant were 10 times less than the EU limit.

Eight local councillors also lodged their objections.

The hearing continues today.


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
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