SCORES of residents attending a public meeting about a proposed waste incinerator were stunned to hear their homes lay within a toxic fall-out zone which would double their children's cancer mortality risk.
And the increased risk to mortality posed by living near an incinerator is confirmed by figures on the Government's own DEFRA website.
Worried householders attended the meeting at Runcorn's Holiday Inn hotel on Friday to hear members of a protest organisation outline the threat proposed by the burner planned for Ince Marshes, near Ellesmere Port.
Brian Cartwright, chairman of Cheshire Against Incinerators (CHAIN) told the audience the proposed complex would burn 600,000 tonnes of household waste from Manchester, Mersey-side and Cheshire. This would mean toxic fallout will rain down on Frodsham, Runcorn and Widnes, increasing the risk of cancers and respiratory illnesses.
Mr Cartwright added: 'Scientists and toxicologists have evidence that incineration is unsafe. It takes stuff we recognise, such as wood and plastics, and turns it into stuff we don't such as dioxins, furans and other toxic byproducts.'
He said the health risks include:
Air emissions from waste incinerators which are a cause of cancer
A 6.7% increase in the likelihood of mortality from lung cancer
A twofold probability of cancer mortality in children
A 37% excess mortality due to liver cancer.
Mr Cartwright said: 'Dioxins, produced by burning plastics, cause cancer - they are some of the most poisonous chemicals known.'