Investigations into health concerns over a Flintshire cement plant in Wales have found no evidence of consistent cancer clusters in the area. The study, by Public Health Wales and other agencies, also says air quality around the Hanson Cement plant in Padeswood near Mold is "favourable".
Hanson cement works at Padeswood, Flintshire has always said there are no health risks at the plant. A report from the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU) concluded there is "no evidence of consistent clusters of cancer or cancer types over time in the local area".
Between 1991 and 2008, the study found rates of new cancer diagnoses in seven areas around the plant were "similar to those of Wales and Flintshire". Dr John Steward, the unit’s director, said 672 statistical tests had been conducted. He said: "We also carried out a cluster analysis which revealed some statistically significant results but none of these could be related to living near the plant.
"Rather, they reflected large scale variation in background risk factors mainly associated with lifestyle choices. This is a pattern we have seen in other areas of Wales. Clustering is normal and in itself of no concern."
A review of fine particulate levels in local air was done by the Centre for Radiation Chemical and Environmental Hazards (Wales), analysing data from 2001 to 2010. Concentrations of fine particles in emissions from Hanson’s plant between 2001 and 2009 were examined. It showed air quality in the area around the cement plant compares favourably with other similar areas in the UK, adding that: "Air quality around the plant is good."
The data also demonstrated a "continual improvement in air quality around the cement works over the study period".
A Hanson spokesman said: "We’re pleased that at long last we’re getting some reassurance for neighbours and our employees." The investigation into residents’ concerns that the factory could be linked to cancer cases was ordered by then Health Minister Edwina Hart in May 2010.