Modern, well-run and regulated waste-to-energy facilities do not pose a significant threat to public health, according to research published by the British government-backed Health Protection Agency (HPA). In its report, which reviews the latest scientific evidence on the health effects of modern municipal waste-to-energy facilties, the HPA concludes that any potential damage from facilities is likely to be so small that it would be undetectable.
Commenting on the report's conclusions, a spokesman for the HPA said: "The evidence suggests that air pollution from incinerators makes up a fraction of 1% of the country's particulate emissions. Industry and traffic account for more than 50%. "European Union Directives aimed at minimizing landfill are leading to an increased use of incineration, and research suggests that this will not cause any significant adverse health effects. The report cites evidence from the Department of Health-affiliated Committee on Carcinogencicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment, which concluded that any potential risk of cancer due to living near a municipal waste incinerator was "exceedingly low", and probably not measurable by most modern techniques.