Thursday, October 20, 2005


If ever proof was needed that the people opposing the siting of an incinerator in Ringaskiddy in Cork haven't a notion what they're talking about, then this is it...

"The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday insisted that an increase in the level of dioxins revealed by a survey of the Ringaskiddy area of Cork harbour was well within EU safety guidelines and that the dioxin level in the general harbour area had improved.

The survey by the EPA was carried out in the summer of 2004 and involved the agency taking milk samples from 17 sites around the country and analysing these for dioxins, which are deposited on grass and ingested by cattle and transferred into milk yields.

According to the report, the level of dioxins in milk fat taken from a sample in the Ringaskiddy area rose to 0.226 picogrammes per gram of milk fat in contrast to reductions in 10 of another eleven sites where comparisons could be made between 2000 and 2004.

Dr Colman Concannon of the EPA said it was not possible to draw clear conclusions from the 2000 and 2004 Ringaskiddy tests as they were not necessarily based on samples from the same farms but from milk pools made up from possibly different farms.

Ringaskiddy is the site chosen by Indaver Ireland for its proposed toxic waste incinerator.Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment said the report and the Ringaskiddy findings highlighted the need for a moratorium on mass incineration until proper baseline health studies have been carried out.

However, Dr Concannon said the 2004 Ringaskiddy figure was still some 10 times less than the EU safe limit."

Just to be clear, there are 1,000,000,000,000 (1 thousand billion in the modern understanding) picogrammes in one gram so the concentration of dioxins in the milk fat is 1 part per 4,424,778,761,061. These numbers are so small as to be totally meaningless. To put it in context, there are the same number of litres (1,000,000,000,000) in 1 Kilometer cubed. So the dilution factor we're considering is the equivalent of roughly the contents of two road petrol tankers dropped into the Caspian Sea! I like those odds, bring it on dioxins!!

And how these figures even come close to "highlighting the need for a moratorium on mass incineration" is beyond me... unless one wants to frame the discussion in terms of house prices.


Lenny has taken the day off. However he did ring my room last night to enquire if he needed to put "Europe" on the bottom of a letter he was sending back to Ireland.

I said "no".

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