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Incinerators: Health Hazards

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 203775, tabled on 19 December 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 November 2018 to Question 193367, what evidence Public Health England has considered on the effects of dioxins released during incineration of municipal waste on human health.

Answered on

9 January 2019

Public Health England’s (PHE’s) position is that well run and regulated modern municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) are not a significant risk to public health. This view is based on detailed assessments of the effects of air pollutants on health and the fact that modern and well managed MWIs make only a very small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants.

This review included consideration of dioxins and explains that the emissions from incinerators should have a negligible impact on the level of dioxin exposure of the surrounding population either from direct inhalation or exposure from locally produced foodstuffs. Therefore the dioxin emissions from incinerators are unlikely to have any appreciable effect on health.

When consulted, PHE provides an expert and independent opinion to the regulator (Environment Agency) on the potential impacts, including from dioxins, on human health of emissions arising from existing or proposed regulated facilities, such as MWIs.