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Press Release Press Release Press Release Press  Release   

16 August 2001


Landfill Health Risk ‘Disturbing’, says CPHVA

A major study which reveals that living near a landfill site can lead to an increased risk of birth defects and low birth weights was described as "very disturbing" by the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association today (Thursday, 16 August).

The CPHVA is particularly concerned that those living near one of Britain’s landfill sites are some of the most vulnerable groups in society – those on low incomes, the elderly and sick, and those from ethnic minorities.

The CPHVA’s lead professional officer (health visiting), Obi Amadi said: ‘What makes this scenario more alarming is that these groups already have an increased risk of disease and higher mortality rates because of other lifestyle factors

‘Another section of the population who should be concerned are affluent young couples who are living on new residential estates which may be near old landfill sites.’

TThe CPHVA was commenting on an article in the British Medical Journal which said: ‘We found small excess risks of congenital
anomalies and low and very low birth weight in populations living near landfill sites.’ Eighty percent of the UK’s population lives within two kilometres of a landfill site.

Obi Amadi said: ‘We welcome the fact that the government is taking this study seriously and that it is government policy to reduce its reliance on landfill. However, we will be writing, as an Association, to Health Secretary, Alan Milburn, Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett and Stephen Byers, who is responsible for local government, outlining our concerns.’

Local authorities should take these health factors into account when granting planning permission for new housing or the regeneration of ‘brownfield’ plots near landfill sites.’

There is an obvious need for these landfill sites to be ‘cleaned up’ as much as possible and higher standards in place for any new sites. The relationship between landfill sites and its effect on health is a complex one and calls out for further research.’

‘We would urge parents not to let their children play near such sites or nearby canals and waterways.’



Shaun Noble Communications Officer ( (020) 7939 7043

mobile ( 07768 69 39 40

CPHVA press releases can be seen on the CPHVA website: amicus-cphva.org

The CPHVA - the UK’s third largest nursing union - represents health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses, district nurses and nursery nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The CPHVA is a professional section of the Amicus trade union