Page last updated at 10:05 GMT, Saturday, 15 May 2010 11:05 UK

Probe ordered after cancer fears over Flintshire plant

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The company says a major health study five years ago gave it a clean bill of health

Health Minister Edwina Hart has ordered an investigation after concerns that a Flintshire cement factory could be linked to cancer cases.

The move comes after Penyffordd Community Council claimed an "increase" in various cancers in residents living near Hanson Cement, Padeswood.

Hanson, formerly Castle Cement, said it welcomed the study, which it said would show there were "no health threats".

Ms Hart has asked Public Health Wales to investigate the concerns.

In a letter to Edwina Hart in April, Penyffordd Community Council clerk, Nigel Jones said it is a "known fact that there has been an increase in the cases of various cancers" within Penyffordd and nearby areas Penymynydd, Padeswood, Buckley, Leeswood and Hawarden.

We're happy to work with anyone who wants to look at records or see how the plant operates. The doors are open
Hanson spokesman

Mr Jones asked for a full health impact study "as a matter of urgency".

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said on Thursday: "The Health Minister Edwina Hart has asked Public Health Wales to investigate concerns that have been raised about Castle Cement Works.

"Public Health Wales will work with the local community and relevant stakeholders including the Environment Agency, the Local Health Board and the Health Protection Agency to gain a better understanding of the concerns and will provide advice and support as appropriate."

'Recognition'

Hanson is part of the HeidelbergCement Group.

The company has said a 2004 study has already proved there were no health issues relating to the site, with the report endorsed by the North Wales Health Authority and Welsh Assembly Government.

The 2004 study included examination of incidences of cancer.

However, spokesman David Weeks said: "We welcome the study.

"We're happy to work with anyone who wants to look at records or see how the plant operates. The doors are open."

North Wales AM Mark Isherwood, who has also written to the minister about the subject, said: "I welcome the minister's recognition of the need for an investigation into the causes of apparent cancer clusters around the Padeswood cement factory.

"But it must be thorough and independent if it is to be effective and relied upon.

"Further, it must address concerns raised with me - not only by people like my daughter who was diagnosed with cancer aged 20 but now recovered - but also former employees affected by cancer."



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SEE ALSO
Call to probe cement cancer links
14 Apr 10 |  North East Wales
Cement firm's 250,000 smoke fine
18 Feb 10 |  North East Wales
Cement works conditions breached
16 Oct 09 |  Wales
Cement dust cloud 'coats' village
09 Oct 09 |  North East Wales
Cement firm fined over emissions
31 Mar 06 |  North East Wales

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