You are here

Estimating Particulate Exposure from Modern Municipal Waste Incinerators in Great Britain

Publication date: 

5 Jul 2017

Ref: 

doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b06478

Author(s): 

Douglas P, Freni-Sterrantino A, Leal Sanchez M, Ashworth DC, Ghosh RE, Fecht D, Font A, Blangiardo M, Gulliver J, Toledano MB, Elliott P, de Hoogh K, Fuller GW, Hansell AL.

Publication type: 

Article

Abstract: 

Municipal Waste Incineration (MWI) is regulated through the European Union Directive on Industrial Emissions (IED), but there is ongoing public concern regarding potential hazards to health. Using dispersion modeling, we estimated spatial variability in PM10 concentrations arising from MWIs at postcodes (average 12 households) within 10 km of MWIs in Great Britain (GB) in 2003-2010. We also investigated change points in PM10 emissions in relation to introduction of EU Waste Incineration Directive (EU-WID) (subsequently transposed into IED) and correlations of PM10 with SO2, NOx, heavy metals, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furan (PCDD/F), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) emissions. Yearly average modeled PM10 concentrations were 1.00 × 10-5 to 5.53 × 10-2 μg m-3, a small contribution to ambient background levels which were typically 6.59-2.68 × 101 μg m-3, 3-5 orders of magnitude higher. While low, concentration surfaces are likely to represent a spatial proxy of other relevant pollutants. There were statistically significant correlations between PM10 and heavy metal compounds (other heavy metals (r = 0.43, p = <0.001)), PAHs (r = 0.20, p = 0.050), and PCBs (r = 0.19, p = 0.022). No clear change points were detected following EU-WID implementation, possibly as incinerators were operating to EU-WID standards before the implementation date. Results will be used in an epidemiological analysis examining potential associations between MWIs and health outcomes.