A study examining whether emissions from Sheffield’s incinerator affect the health of people living within 10 miles is still to be completed – more than two years after it was due to be published.
The Veolia facility on Bernard Road is among 22 incinerators in the UK being examined as part of Public Health England research.
Scientists are investigating whether there is a link between incinerator emissions and health outcomes such as low birth weights and infant deaths.
Public Health England officials have said they believe the study will provide further evidence to support their position that incinerators are not a significant risk to public health.
The study, approved in January 2012 and due to be completed by March 2014, has been delayed by what has been described as ‘unanticipated complexity in gathering data’. PHE say it is hoped the report will be published later this year.
Research is examining areas of up to 15km, or nine-and-a-half miles, away from incinerators and also investigating potential links with incinerator emissions and babies born with congenital anomalies, such as cleft palate and spina bifida.
Work is being carried out by officials from Imperial College London and King’s College London.
Dr Ovnair Sepai, of the Public Health England Toxicology Department, said: “It was originally envisaged that results for this study would be available by March 2014 but because of the unanticipated complexity in gathering data that has been delayed.
“It is expected that papers from the project will be submitted by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit to peer reviewed journals in 2016, and it is likely to be a few months after submission for the papers to be published.
“It is import to stress that Public Health England’s position that well run and regulated modern municipal waste incinerators are not a significant risk to public health remains valid, and the study is being carried out to extend the evidence base and to provide further information to the public on this subject.”
The Sheffield incinerator deals with 225,000 tonnes of household rubbish per year, providing enough electricity to power 19,000 homes.