by Dr Jerry Thompson (BSEM)
The last edition of Health Effects of Waste incinerators was done in 2008 and an update has been overdue for a while. It is encouraging that mainstream medicine is slowly catching up with BSEM. Dame Sally Davies has stated that pollution is a major threat to health and the NHS in one of the worst polluters and this includes hospital incinerators. This is a good start.
To be fair when I was first warned that an incinerator was being built locally I knew little about pollution. A campaign followed and eventually this led to the report. But it seems incinerators are the tip of a very large iceberg. We have never in our history been exposed to so many chemicals. Throughout an average day each one of us inhales hundreds of chemicals from both indoor and outdoor pollution, absorb more through the skin from cosmetics and personal care products and take in yet more through food and water. It’s relentless and it’s accumulative. Before we have had time to blink, electromagnetic pollution, nanoparticles and microplastics have been added to the cocktail.
What’s more 10% of all chemicals are carcinogenic, 25-50% are neurotoxic and an unknown number are endocrine disruptors; often at minute concentrations. It’s a lottery whether we can handle these or not. There can be a thousand-fold difference in people’s ability to detoxify individual chemicals and many of us lack the necessary nutrients to do so. It’s bad luck if your detoxification system is below par and you become ill. It’s surely no coincidence that we are seeing sharp rises in cancers, endocrine and neurological diseases. BSEM have been concerned about this for years but mainstream medicine has been slow to join the dots.
The news with incinerators is good and bad but mostly bad. There have been improvements in some areas but not much. They are still unsafe and I have two particular concerns. One is the high number of incinerators operating in relatively small areas including the cities of London and Birmingham. This increases toxicity in places already high in pollution. The second is the fact that we are still burning radioactive waste, transforming a substance which is safe in storage into something absolutely lethal in particulate form. Hospital incinerators are some of the worst offenders. Incinerators are also adding to our total load of toxicity.
To me this demonstrates that it is vital to have doctors who are aware of this link between toxicity and health, who understand about total load, who understand the importance of reducing this load and know how to enhance detoxification. It is also an ecological message: when we poison our world it comes back to us like a boomerang.
Dr Jerry Thompson