In the 27 years since monitoring began, studies have shown that exposure to the incineration plant is not a risk factor for the health of the population
The Maresme Waste Consortium continues to support these studies due to the scientific interest in monitoring the evolution of the different public health indicators over time, and in order to manage the facility with maximum transparency
The Maresme Waste Consortium has contracted two new studies to determine the potential environmental and health impact of the Maresme Integral Centre for Waste Recovery incinerator.
These are biological and environmental monitoring, two controls that have been carried out since 1995 and 2008, respectively. Although to date all the results have shown that the exposure of the population of the Maresme to the levels of dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls and heavy metals from the energy recovery plant does not pose any risk to their health, the Maresme Waste Consortium continues to support these studies, given the scientific interest in carrying out monitoring of the evolution of the different indicators of public health over time and in order to carry out management of the facility with maximum transparency.
The Fundació Privada Salut del Consorci Sanitari del Maresme and the Fundació Universitat Rovira i Virgili de Tarragona will be in charge of carrying out the studies at a cost of €98,667 and €66,669.55.
A sampling of 250 people
In the biological monitoring, the study population will be made up of a group of 250 people, including plant workers, inhabitants of Mataró and Arenys de Mar, and breastfeeding women from the capital of Maresme. They will have their levels of dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls measured in blood and breast milk, and the level of heavy metals in their blood and urine. The sample will be divided into an ‘exposed’ group (people living within 1.5km of the incinerator) and a ‘non-exposed’ group (people living more than 3km from the waste-to-energy plant), so that the effects of the incinerator on the health of the people of Maresme can be compared and assessed.
At the same time, environmental monitoring will take soil and air samples in four sampling areas ranging from the Maresme Integrated Waste Recovery Centre itself to 15km away and will analyse metals and metalloids, polychlorinated dioxins and furans and polychlorinated biphenyls.
The first results will be obtained provisionally in April 2023 with the first partial report of the environmental monitoring campaign that will last a total of four years. A second partial report will be obtained from this study in April 2025 and finally, in June 2025, the final report will be drawn up. In the case of biological monitoring, the study will last eighteen months and the results will be obtained in September 2023.
A pioneering study in Catalonia
In 1995, with the start-up of the incinerator, the Maresme Waste Consortium launched the first control of the possible effects of the incinerator on the health of the population. This was a pioneering study in Catalonia at the time, which was later joined by an environmental analysis. Today, these scientific studies carried out in Mataró are the longest-running of all the similar energy recovery plants in Spain.
Both studies have made it possible to determine scientifically and over the years that, on the one hand, the levels of dioxins and furans both in the biological samples of the populations studied and in the environmental samples collected are comparable to those observed in industrial areas in other regions of the country; and on the other hand, that exposure to the incineration plant is not a risk factor for the health of the population.