No cancer cluster evidence found at Hanson Cement

Hanson cement works at Padeswood, Flintshire Hanson has always said there are no health risks at the plant

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Investigations into health concerns over a Flintshire cement plant have found no evidence of consistent cancer clusters in the area.

The study, by Public Health Wales and other agencies, also says air quality around the Hanson Cement plant in Padeswood near Mold is "favourable".

The study was launched after some residents claimed there was an increase in some cancers in the area.

Hanson said the results provided reassurance for neighbours and staff.

A report from the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU) concluded there is "no evidence of consistent clusters of cancer or cancer types over time in the local area".

Between 1991 and 2008, the study found rates of new cancer diagnoses in seven areas around the plant were "similar to those of Wales and Flintshire".

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It is comparable with air quality in a typical rural community or small town in the UK”

End Quote Professor David Russell Study contributor

Dr John Steward, the unit's director, said 672 statistical tests had been conducted.

He said: "We also carried out a cluster analysis which revealed some statistically significant results but none of these could be related to living near the plant.

"Rather, they reflected large scale variation in background risk factors mainly associated with lifestyle choices. This is a pattern we have seen in other areas of Wales. Clustering is normal and in itself of no concern."

A review of fine particulate levels in local air was done by the Centre for Radiation Chemical and Environmental Hazards (Wales), analysing data from 2001 to 2010.

Concentrations of fine particles in emissions from Hanson's plant between 2001 and 2009 were examined.

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"We're pleased that at long last we're getting some reassurance for neighbours and our employees”

End Quote Spokesman Hanson Cement

It showed air quality in the area around the cement plant compares favourably with other similar areas in the UK, adding that: "Air quality around the plant is good."

The data also demonstrated a "continual improvement in air quality around the cement works over the study period".

Prof David Russell, who runs the centre, said: "It is comparable with air quality in a typical rural community or small town in the UK."

A Hanson spokesman said: "We're pleased that at long last we're getting some reassurance for neighbours and our employees."

The investigation into residents' concerns that the factory could be linked to cancer cases was ordered by then Health Minister Edwina Hart in May 2010.

Penyffordd Community councillors had claimed an "increase" in various cancers in residents living near the plant.

In a letter to Mrs Hart last April, Penyffordd Community Council clerk, Nigel Jones said it is a "known fact that there has been an increase in the cases of various cancers" within Penyffordd and nearby areas Penymynydd, Padeswood, Buckley, Leeswood and Hawarden.

The investigation involves experts from Public Health Wales, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, the Health Protection Agency, Environment Agency Wales, the Food Standards Agency and Flintshire Council.

The latest findings were presented at a briefing to residents in Mold on Monday.

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