In partnership with Imperial College London
In partnership with Imperial College London

EfW and health

There is no evidence to suggest that EfW facilities have an adverse impact on public health. Equally, there is no peer reviewed scientific evidence since stricter emission limits came into force in 1996 that links modern EfW plants with increased cancer levels.

The most recent government report to review 23 reputable studies and four review papers into the patterns of disease around EfW facilities was in 2004. This concluded that the risk of cancer caused by living near an EfW facility is so remote it is too low to measure.

“Any potential risk of cancer due to residency near municipal solid waste incinerators was exceedingly low and not measurable by the most modern epidemiological techniques.”

The UK Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment

> FAQ 10

This conclusion is backed up by organisations such as:

> DEFRA
> The Committee on Carinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products
    and the Environment

> The UK Health Protection Agency
> The World Health Organisation

According to the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers “The dioxin emission limit value required by WID from an EfW plant is a concentration in the chimney of 0.1 ng/m³ (one billionth of a gram per cubic metre at ambient temperature and pressure). This is an equivalent concentration to one third of a sugar lump dissolved evenly in Loch Ness.

UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers report “Energy from Waste: A Wasted Opportunity?” 2008 p.15,
> Institute of Mechanical Engineers.


Key Fact

Following a comprehensive review of the available scientific information, the Health Protection Agency states that energy from waste facilities that are well run and regulated “do not pose a significant threat to public health” (HPA, 2010)


A study carried out by Lisbon University’s Institute of Preventive Medicine concluded that waste incineration “does not impact on dioxin blood levels of nearby residents” of EfW Plants.

Lisbon University’s Institute of Preventive Medicine, Determinants of Dioxins and Furans in blood of non-occupationally exposed populations living near Portuguese solid waste incinerators, 2007,
www.sciencedirect.com.