21 August 2008

Dust to dust… Part 2

Health risk

By Marcus O’Garvey (Haulbowline) with thanks for the info to Metal Man (Sligo IT), Boffin Island (Haulbowline), Pat the Barker (Limerick), Tralee Rose and Others, 21 August 2008.

This blog entry grew exponentially! Due to its large size we have made it available as a PDF file for download together with Part 1: Toxic waste.


Haulbowline Island is a notorious toxic waste (“brownfield”) site smack-bang in the centre of Cork Harbour, on Ireland’s south coast. And it’s not just a dumping ground covered with heavy metal dust, aromatic hydrocarbons and PCBs. Part of the island itself, the East Tip, is actually made of the stuff. Nearly 9 hectares to be precise. That’s a hell of a lot of toxic waste. It also means (and sorry to ignore the poor old marine ecosystem for now) a hell of a lot of dust blowing around in the environment.

Part 1 of this diatribe showed that the dust, or “fugitive emissions” or “particulate matter” or “immissions” as it is otherwise called, did not just stop being produced and go away with the cessation of smelting in 2001 when Irish Ispat Ltd went into receivership. It continues to be liberated from the East Tip by the recent (and future) contaminated site remediation activities, with help from the wind on dry days. Whether you get a lungful/skinful or not depends on where you live and/or work (Cobh, Ringaskiddy or on Haulbowline itself) and which way the wind is blowing. Sort of Russian Roulette with nanogram (parts per billion) sized bullets of lead, zinc, chromium six, cadmium, arsenic, manganese, etc. etc.

What, then, does this heavy metal cocktail do to you? That is the question this Part 2 briefly addresses.

We are not even going to attempt to go near the cocktail mixers of dioxins, furans, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). That is a job for our local (well paid) biomedical experts at Cork’s very own University Hospital and University College (not that they have had anything to say so on the subject far!!).

Part 2 variously borrows, copies and steals information from all over the Web and pastes it together to, well, scare the hell out of you! It is after all what the scientific experts and international health organisations have to say.

Bias? Yes, we have edited stuff to bring you the juicy “bad news”. But, we hope you may then be in a better position to both inform yourself and regurgitate biochemistry facts all over those nicey politicians who will want your vote next year during the local council elections. Give ‘em hell on the doorstep. They did, after all, give us Irish Ispat!


Visit the full article for more, much, much more! (It'll be worth it!)

Or return to Dust to dust… Part 1: Toxic waste

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