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CHASE Press Release - 09-06-09
Leading Toxico-Pathologist Says No Filtering on Incinerators for Unregulated Deadly Nanoparticles

Leading Toxico-Pathologist, Prof C Vyvyan Howard, an internationally recognised expert in his field, spoke on behalf of CHASE at this mornings Oral Hearing and gave a detailed analysis of the toxicological effects of minute nano-particles, such as those produced from an incinerator stack, on the human body.

Professor Howard outlined his current research on the investigation of the fate of toxicology of nanoparticles, which is being funded by two large EU grants.

He described ultrafine-particles, or nanopaticles, as very small pieces of matter usually only measured for research purposes and are effectively outside regulatory control. Studies have shown that these nanoparticles are more toxic than larger particles, and translocate easily into the blood system and are then distributed to other organs in the body, with the ability to cross the placental barrier.

Prof Howard cited a large number of studies which confirm that fine-particle pollution is responsible for exacerbating a wide range of human health problems including: initiating and worsening asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases and heart disease, and stated that research has found that even air pollution levels that are well within legal limits are killing people, especially older people and those with chronic heart and lung ailments. According to Prof Howard, there is no level of fine-paticle pollution below which no deaths occur, and the young and elderly are among the most vulnerable.

Prof Howard said that "Modern incinerators are a major source of nanoparticles. Waste incinerators with the most modern bag filter technology for clean-up of flue gases still emit an aerosol of ultrafine particles, unlimited by legislation. There are thousands of chemicals emitted by incinerators and research has shown that even normally harmless materials tend to become toxic when divided into ultrafine particles."

He said that "The risk assessment in relation to particulates that has been undertaken by Indaver is rather simplistic and appears to ignore the very significant contribution made to particulate burdens made by SOx (Sulpher Dioxide) and especially NOx (Nitrous Oxide) emissions."

Prof Howard Cited several studies linking fine particles to human deaths, and quoting the European Commission said that "currently in the EU there is a loss in statistical life expectancy of over 8 months due to fineparticles in air, equivalent to 3.6million life years lost annually."

He concluded with a recommendation that this application should not be approved in light of the likely risks to Public Health and the Environment.


Mary O’Leary, 086 8177737, 021 4811952
Mary Hurley, 086 8162448, 021 4803070
Linda FitzPatrick, 087 7410849, 021 4374506


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email -
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