Experts discuss Flintshire cement cancer concerns

Hanson cement works at Padeswood, Flintshire Hanson wants a "clearly-defined time scale" for the study

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An expert group has been established to discuss the concerns of a Flintshire community who fear a cement factory is linked to cancer.

Residents will receive an update on an investigation into their concerns later.

The investigation into concerns around the Hanson Cement plant in Padeswood was launched by Public Health Wales.

At the second in a series of meetings, the investigation team will answer questions and give progress reports.

Hanson has said there are no health risks, but is has welcomed the study.

Health Minister Edwina Hart ordered the investigation into residents' concerns after some people claimed there was an "increase in the cases of various cancers" in the areas surrounding the plant.

Experts from Public Health Wales, which also included Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, the Health Protection Agency, Environment Agency Wales, the Food Standards Agency and Flintshire County Council will meet with members of the public.

At an earlier meeting in June, the team heard concerns put forward by local residents.

On Thursday, residents will be told how the team will respond to those concerns. Further meetings are planned to update residents on any findings and analysis.

'Detailed review'

They will be told that, amongst other work, a "detailed review of the existing data on cancer rates and an assessment of perceived 'clusters' of disease is also underway".

Other factors to be examined include which chemicals are used at the plant, legal levels for emissions and the health impacts of other environmental factors, such as noise.

Andrew Jones, of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: "We hope that in helping people to understand each step of the investigation process, they will have a fuller understanding of the information, conclusions and recommendations which may come from the investigation.

"However, we are undertaking very detailed work which cannot be rushed so we can't guess at the time frames involved."

A spokesman for Hanson said: "We are re-assured by the even-handed that Public Health Wales has conducted the review, but we would like to see a clearly-defined time scale."

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