§ Mr. Peter Duncan
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has received from the Health and Safety Executive regarding the effects of landfill sites on public health. 
§ Ms Blears
The Department of Health has received no assessment from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regarding the effects of landfill sites on public health.
The HSE, contributes to a grant to the small area health statistics unit (SAHSU) at Imperial College, jointly with the Department of Health, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency, the Scottish Executive, the National Assembly of Wales and the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. SAHSU was commissioned to carry out a national study of birth outcomes and cancer around landfill sites.
The results for birth outcomes were published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 (Elliott et al BMJ 2001: 323: 363–8: available at http://www.bmj.com). The results for the cancer outcomes were published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2002 (Jarup et al 2002: 86: 1732–6). A fuller report of the study may be found at the Department of Health website at: http://www.doh.gov.uk/pdfs/report aug13.pdf. The study found a small increase in congenital anomalies in populations living close to landfill sites. There was no suggestion of excess risks of cancer associated with landfill sites. The Department sought advice on the study from the independent expert Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT). COT 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 opinion of the COT may be found at: http://www.doh.gov.uk/cotnonfood/landfil.htm.