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Sunday, 3 November, 2002, 10:42 GMT
US experts visit landfill site
Landfill site, generic
Local residents opposed the Nantygwyddon site
American public health experts have been called in visit the site of a controversial south Wales landfill dump.

The visitors have been asked to advise the Welsh Assembly Government on what to do next following the closure of the Nantygwyddon at Gelli, Rhondda, almost a year ago.

Campaigners at Nantygwyddon site in the Rhondda
Residents protested to close the site

Dumping was halted in the wake of a damning report commissioned by the assembly.

During their trip, the experts from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will hold a series of meetings with local people.

Among others, they will meet representatives from the residents' protest group, Residents Against Nantygwyddon Tip (Rant).

The aim of the ATSDR team is to recommend a course of action for improving the health of the local community.

Their visit has been co-ordinated by the health body, the Wales Centre for Health (WCH), which believes their input will be vital.

"We are pleased to be hosting the visit by our American colleagues who have wide experience of public health issues in the United States," said Dr Edward Coyle from the WCH.

"Their contribution to our discussions with the local community in the Nantygwyddon area concerning new approaches to looking at health issues will be invaluable."

Water pollution

Councillors in Rhondda Cynon Taff agreed to stop dumping household waste at Nantygwyddon in December 2001, days after the publication of an assembly-commissioned report which criticised the site.

The author of the report, David Purchon, recommended closure, saying the site was too wet, windy and close to homes.

David Purchon, report's author
David Purchon: Report author

Locals campaigned against the site on health grounds for more than a decade.

Mr Purchon's report highlighted that polluted water from the site has flown over the years into an area covering 20,000 households.

In August 2001, government-backed research published in the British Medical Journal found a 1% higher risk of birth defects in babies born near landfill tips.

The ATSDR experts met the assembly's Environment Minister Sue Essex and Health Minister Jane Hutt on Monday.

The ministers said: "We are delighted that the world renowned environmental health protection experts are here and thank the ATSDR team for assisting Wales in this matter."

Created in 1980, the ATSDR is a federal public health agency located in Atlanta, Georgia, that is part of the Public Health Service within the US Department of Health and Human Services.


More from south east Wales
See also:

18 Jan 02 | Wales
19 Dec 01 | Wales
10 Dec 01 | Wales
07 Dec 01 | Wales
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