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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has commissioned on potential health risks to children living in close proximity to landfill sites.
No studies have been commissioned specifically of childhood. The Department has commissioned research previously on the risks of some types of cancer among people living close to a landfill site and of birth outcomes in babies born to mothers living near sites compared to those living further away (Jarup et al, 2002. British Journal of Cancer Volume 86, pages 1732-1736 and Elliott et al, 2001. British Medical Journal Volume 323, pages 363-368). A slight increase in congenital anomalies was found but no excess risk of cancer. The independent advisory Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) considered these studies and noted that the findings for birth outcomes were not consistent, and that the study provided no evidence that the rates of anomalies increased after sites had opened:
The COT considered further studies in 2010 and found the results reassuring. In particular, it found no cause for concern for the health of families with infants or for couples who live in the vicinity of landfill sites and who are considering having a baby: