With regard to the protest against the proposed ERF incinerator, crucially the microparticulate matter PM 2.5- PM 1 is so small that there is no way of measuring the tiny particles.

Although the scrubbers and filter bags used in modern incinerators capture a small percentage along with the far larger and less dangerous to health PM 10, the remainder is released into the atmosphere on a daily basis.

PM 2.5 - PM 1 can be ingested into the lungs where it can cause damage to the respiratory system. To quote DEFRA: (the Government Department of Health and Rural Affairs ): “Health Effects of PM: Inhalation of particulate pollution can have adverse health impacts, and there is understood to be no safe threshold below which no adverse effects would be anticipated [1].

The biggest impact of particulate air pollution on public health is understood to be from long-term exposure to P M2.5, which increases the age-specific mortality risk, particularly from cardiovascular causes.

Several plausible mechanisms for this effect on mortality have been proposed, although it is not yet clear which is the most important.

Exposure to high concentrations of PM (e.g. during short-term pollution episodes) can also exacerbate lung and heart conditions, significantly affecting quality of life, and increase deaths and hospital admissions.

Children, the elderly and those with predisposed respiratory and cardiovascular disease, are known to be more susceptible to the health impacts from air pollution.

There is naturally concern among MPs with constituents living in areas near ERF incinerators and questions have recently been asked in Parliament about the effect on the health of residents, particularly those living in the North of England where many of the incinerators are sited.


Fortuneswell, Portland