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Ask-Guru-thread-29


Keywords :- Geographic mortality differentials in Scotland

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From: Alissa (Friedman-Torres) Beveridge
Organisation: University of Michigan
Date: 5th September 1998
Subject: Geographic mortality differentials in Scotland

 

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Dear Dr Hackenbush,

 

1st response

 

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Dear Alissa

Which area of Scotland is of special interest to you ?

The majority of the contaminated land occurs in the so-called "lowland region" (as you are no doubt aware Scotland is divided into those who live in the Highlands (the pretty bits) and the Lowlands (the gritty bits).

The Highlanders (who are keen on kilts), view the Lowlanders as Sassenachs (ie Englishmen) who happen to speak with a Scottish accent! But having said that, the people who live in Edinburgh believe that they speak the purest English (language not accent) whilst all Glaswegians speak like Billy Connolly (oops this hole I am digging is getting deeper!)

Anyway enough of a "Hackenbushian ramble through the bramble" and onto answering your question

  1. Most industrialisation and hence contamination (and population) seems to be in the Edinburgh to Glasgow area.

  2. What level of detail do you need? You mentioned postcodes - these can go down to the so called 'postmans walk' ie around 15 - 20 houses. So for example my postcode is SW11 6LN which if you look at it is within The London Borough of Wandsworth (which has I think around 300,000 inhabitants) and consists of SW11, SW16, SW17 and bits of SW18). When you get to the 6LN bit, that describes 15 - 20 houses on my street - known as "Grandison Road"

  3. At this level there is not that much data available (as we are still getting our act together on drawing up a register of sites that have been potentially contaminated)

However all is not lost as the Friends of the Earth have compiled quite extensive data on Contaminated areas in the UK.

Their data is based on two main sources :-

  1. Government IPC (Integrated Process Control) data - to see an example go to their website www.foe.co.uk

  2. Landfill sites - there has been a recent spate of newspaper articles about the hazards of living next to Waste Dumps (there are some 8,000 sites in Britain, of which 2,000 are active. 463 of them are thought to pose the greatest risk - due to the presence of hazardous waste - the contact given in a recent news article ('The Times' - Saturday August 8th 1998) was Mike Childs of Friends of the Earth down in London. His counterpart in the Scottish branch of Friends of the Earth is Lang Banks

  3. Also a recent study (published in 'The Lancet' on August 8th) and front page news in 'The Daily Telegraph' - Friday August 7th) investigated birth defects that might be caused by living near to landfill sites. Dr Helen Dolk (of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) was the Team Leader.

    The Scottish end of the study was led by Mr David Stone (of the University of Glasgow), I have just spoken to him, and he would be very happy to give you what help and advice he can.

And finally (as Trevor McDonald - who is not Scottish - would say) the Website Addresses for the stories mentioned above are below (actually Rory Bremner is more likely to say that!)

  1. The Electronic Telegraph
    Baby Defects 'linked' to toxic dumps

  2. The Times
    Ministers order inquiry into the poison tips

  3. The Lancet
    Environmental Epidemiology in Public Health

Regards

Hugo

 

2nd response

 

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Dear Mark

I emailed Chris Munro at English Partnerships with the following request

I run a website called http://www.contaminatedland.co.uk which deals with contaminated land issues

I recently had a request from a student at Newcastle University about remediating cokeworks.

I would be very grateful if you could give me some more information about the project, that I could post up about the project

The answer I got was :-

    Unfortunately EP has a policy not to issue info. to websites.

So I suggest that if you want information that you go down to the local planning office, as this information is in the public domain.

Once the Present Government passes some sensible legislation such as a Freedom of Information Act (instead of acting like spoilt children and indulging in Onanaism just the the House of Lords refuses to act like Turkeys and vote for Christmas!), then this information will be available to you as a right not as a privilege.

cheers

Micky

 

3rd response

 

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Dear Alissa

A research programme has just been launched (October 1999) to investigate the possible impact of landfill sites on human health. The Department of Health, the DETR, the HSE and the Environment Agency (who are all involved in setting up the programme) have as their aim :-

  1. review the potential teratogenicity of substances emmited by landfill sites
  2. review the data on chemicals known to be emmited by landfills and assess if any are potentially teratogenic
  3. review of the known causes of congenital malformities
  4. literature study into the known causes of congenital malformities
  5. research into typical personal exposures to chemicals and other substances released from landfills
  6. Study of the geographical variation in congenital malformities (general + specific)

This fits in very nicely with the latest EEC Landfill Directive, which must be implemented by the UK in less than 2 years. The directive states that the amount of biodegradable waste in landfill over the next 20 years must be 35% of the amount produced in 1995.

If you need more information the person to contact is:-

    Emma Jenkins
    Department of Health
    Room 679, Skipton House
    80 London Road
    London, SE1 6LW
    Tel (0171) 972 2000

Micky


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