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Old PCs cause birth defects

Parents! Move away from Landfill sites

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Research due to be released tomorrow suggests that babies born near landfill sites are more likely to suffer birth defects.

The Government-funded study, carried out by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), found that women were one per cent more likely to have a baby with a congenital defect if they lived within two km of a landfill site.

SAHSU also found that 80 per cent of the UK population lives this close to one of the dumping grounds.

And women living near landfill sites containing hazardous waste were seven per cent more likely to have a baby with congenital defects.

"We cannot say that there is no risk from landfill sites," said Dr Pat Troop, deputy chief medical officer at the department of health.

"But given the small numbers of congenital anomalies and the uncertainties in the findings, we are not changing our advice to pregnant women and they should continue with the recommended ante-natal programme."

Results of the study, which involved the group investigating 9,565 landfill sites that were in operation between 1982 and 1997, will be published in the British Medical Journal.

England and Wales produce more than 100 million tonnes of waste every year, including masses of computer and electronic gadget waste - most of which goes into landfills.

According to UK recycling outfit Technical Asset Management, it costs less than £10 to recycle a PC. ®

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