A Shrewsbury man has analysed statistics for the last decade to show that infants in London are more likely to die if they are born downwind of incinerators.
Michael Ryan was inspired to examine the health record of incinerators after he lost two children more than a decade ago and considered their deaths may have been the result of having lived downwind of an incinerator. Since then he has rigorously collected all publicly available statistics and consistently challenged the accepted wisdom that high infant mortality rates can solely be attributed to deprivation and cultural problems.
England’s capital has 625 wards. The average for the 44 wards with the highest infant mortality rates is 8.8 per 1,000 live births. From a total of 95,574 live births there were 839 infant deaths.
Nine of the 44 wards with the highest infant mortality rates are clustered around the Edmonton municipal waste incinerator and ten are downwind of the cluster of incinerators that include the Colnbrook incinerator which converts waste to electricity. Other clusters of above average infant mortality include wards around the Kings College Hospital incinerator and the South East London Combined Heat and Power incinerator in Bermondsey.
At the other scale the 59 wards with rates less than 2.0 per thousand averaged 1.4 deaths per 1,000 live births. From a total of 89,380 live births just 128 infant deaths were recorded in the ten-year period 2002-2011. All of the 59 wards are sited in locations with minimal exposure to incinerators.
“I’d like MPs and councillors to examine the statistics,” says Ryan.