In the wake of local newspaper reports highlighting plans for a possible household waste incinerator in Brentford, West London The Houndslow Chronicle has published an article calling attention to the work of Dr. Dick van Steenis and Mike Ryan.

Under the headline “Baby death rates soar” the Chronicle states:

Brentford’s infant mortality rate is nearly twice the national average, shocking new research has revealed. Between 2002 and 2006, there were 9.9 deaths per 1,000 births in the town – compared with the national average of 5.2.

Dr Dick van Steenis and Michael Ryan

Dr Dick van Steenis and Michael Ryan

Retired GP Dr Dick van Steenis and civil engineer Michael Ryan (pictured above), who highlighted the statistics in an eye-catching report, claim the area’s heavy pollution may be to blame.

Brentford has some of the highest pollution ratings in London, featuring in the 20 worst wards for CO2 levels and coming sixth for PM10 particles.

Dr van Steenis and Mr Ryan’s report claims particles released by incinerators, car emissions and cement works are damaging the public’s health, particularly children’s.

“Pregnant mothers breathe in the particles, which go into the placenta and affect the child,” said Dr van Steenis. “These increase heart and lung problems, especially in children whose immune systems are not yet fully developed.”

The report, based on figures from the Office of National Statistics, places the majority of blame on waste incinerators, which produce the most harmful PM2.5 particles.

The worrying figures come only two weeks after the Chronicle reported waste bosses have considered building an incinerator in Brentford’s Transport Avenue, an industrial estate which is already home to a cement works releasing the heart and lung-damaging PM2.5 particles.

The PCT said it was unable to comment at this stage.

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