January 31, 2010

RPS Spin on Incinerator Health Effects

Why did Dublin Council's paid-consultancy issue this truthiness?

"There is no credible evidence that modern incinerators impose any risk to health."      PJ RUDDEN, Director, RPS Group, Ireland.  Irish Times, January 12, 2010

Note the carefully worded phrase "modern incinerators" and the absolutest "any".  Note in particular that the phrase 'well managed' is carefully omitted.

Is it significantly more truthful to state?:
"There is credible evidence that management of modern incinerators, management as practiced by Dublin City Council, will impose a currently undetectable and unknown risk to health"

Why did RPS issue Mr Rudden's untrue statement?

RPS provides no supporting evidence for Mr Rudden's opinion in the newspaper.  Is this further "massaging" of information to shape public opinion in a public process?  [See Judge McKechnie's unapproved judgement on DCC and RPS].

Why did The Irish Times accept the letter for publication?  How much revenue does The Irish Times receive from Dublin Council?   Does The Irish Times simply regurgitate cynicalRPS/DCC press releases?

Management of public processes in Ireland does not inspire confidence.  One example is the Poolbeg Sewage Plant - badly mismanaged by DCC since it was opened in 2002.  A second Poolbeg example is government mismanagement in Poolbeg: DDDA 'bankruptcy', Anglo-Irish Bank psuedo-bankruptcy, IGB site, Fabrizia site (ZOE/Carroll 'bankruptcy') and the associated €54 Billion NAMA bailouts of banking speculators at taxpayer expense.

A 2009 British report from a politically controlled UK government agency concludes 'modern', 'well managed' incinerators do in fact make a 'small' contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants.  

The report does not state the impact of badly managed modern incinerators, bad management being quite likely based on DCC's recent record.  Additionally DCC's chosen operator seems to be continuously fined for violating EPA-USA standards.  The operator claims its facilities are continuously upgraded and thus modern, apparently.  Obviously the UK report does not factor in the additional impacts of politically massaged 'light touch regulation & monitoring' by curiously appointed EPA directors.  Nor the impact of strong-armed criminal influence in waste streams (Italian incinerators; Ireland cross-border dumping; Germany/Balkan radioactive waste).  

The political British report(a) concedes it is possible that small additions to air pollution from modern incinerators could have an impact on health.  It states with apparently lawyered-up words that such effects, if they exist, are likely to be very small and not detectable.   'Very small' does not appear to be quantified in the conclusion.  Would 125 death-equivalents per year be very small and plausible?  Does 'not detectable' really mean nobody yet has the expensive technology or the means to prove any health damage in court?  

How dangerous is a process with health impacts so subtle or not understood that you can not detect or prove those health impacts?

In the 20th century it was apparently claimed by experts that the health impact of smoking was very small and not detectable.  Since then the tobacco industry has been fined Hundreds of Billions.  That industry withheld or is it "massaged" information in a process designed to deceive the public.

The UK agency concludes it:  "will continue to work with regulators to ensure that incinerators do not contribute significantly to ill health."

Does "will continue to work with regulators to ensure that" imply a solution has not yet been found?  

Doesn't the spin-worded "do not contribute significantly to ill health" confirm that incinerators do in fact impose an unquantified or unpublished health risk?

Is this a contradiction of RPS's absolutest spin?


(a) UK Health Protection Agency. 

28. Modern, well managed incinerators make only a small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants. It is possible that such small additions could have an impact on health but such effects, if they exist, are likely to be very small and not detectable. The Agency, not least through its role in advising Primary Care Trusts and Local Health Boards, will continue to work with regulators to ensure that incinerators do not contribute significantly to ill health. 

(b) Not to be confused with other plagiarised 'reports' or 'dossiers' produced on 45 minutes notice in the UK to support weapons of mass delusion.

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