Greenpeace called on the Labour Party to ban rubbish incinerators and abandon plans for up to 100 new plants, after medical research published in The Lancet showed that toxic fumes from incinerators could be having alarming effects on the sexual development of children. The study found that teenagers living near incinerators had smaller sexual organs than those in rural areas. The teenagers' bodies contained high levels of toxic chemicals, which are thought to interfere with sexual development and are already linked to cancer, heart disease, allergies and breathing illnesses.
The Labour Party is the only mainstream party not calling for a moratorium on new incinerators. Both Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have made manifesto pledges to halt the building of incinerators until the effects on public health have been established
Greenpeace toxics campaigner, Blake Lee-Harwood said
"This new research is yet another grim warning that burning Britain's rubbish could be a disaster for the environment and human health. We already know that burning rubbish gives off poisons that can cause cancers, heart disease and breathing problems.
Britain's incinerators persistently break pollution laws and have amassed a whole catalogue of criminal offences. The Government should listen to scientific and public opinion and abandon this dangerous and outdated technology."
Greenpeace has recently published Incineration and Human Health, a comprehensive review of all available scientific data on the impacts of incineration on human health and the effects of specific chemicals discharged from incinerators. The report reveals a wide body of evidence demonstrating the negative health impacts of waste incineration.
Incinerators in England are committing hundreds of pollution offences every year by discharging more toxic pollution than legally permitted. Greenpeace examined the records of ten of Britain's twelve plants and found that they broke pollution laws a total of 546 times in 1999 and 2000 but incurred only one prosecution for the entire period.
Greenpeace press office on: 020 7865 8255