Waste Site Behind Birth Defects?

The Environment Protection Authority has declared a waste landfill site in Dandenong, Victoria, to be safe even as residents have been calling for a health study over the claims of birth defects and lung cancer.

According to the EPA, the Lyndhurst Hazardous Waste Landfill, the main destination for Victoria's unsafe trash, functions within strict safety guidelines. Located near Tullamarine Airport, the landfill was closed down two years ago after nearby residents said it was too close to their houses and that they had begun noticing health problems.

Pointing out that no studies had been done till date on the health of those living nearby, Residents Against Toxic Waste in the South East (RATWISE) spokeswoman Thelma Wakelam said, "It appears now that the Government is planning on doing a health study around the area, but we're concerned that the health study may not take in all the areas of concern in the south-east here".

In order to corroborate their claims till the study was done, the residents, meanwhile, have collected anecdotal evidence of serious health issues in the community. There is a 20% higher rate of lung cancers in the Dandenong area, Wakelam points out. She also quoted the example of a young mother whose baby was born without eyes and had other internal problems too.