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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Tests carried out on milk in Limerick amid local dioxin fears

Locals told 'extremely low' dioxin level exposure from cement plant

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has carried out tests on milk in the Mungret area of Limerick following concerns among local residents.

The request to add an additional sampling location by the EPA was made by the Limerick Against Pollution (LAP) group, in view of the application of the Irish Cement factory in Limerick for a licence to use alternative fuels including tyres and solvents

Baseline measurements in herds in the Mungret area of Limerick were included for the first time in 2017 through the national dioxin monitoring programme and the initial results showed that very low values of doxin were present - well below permitted limits.

According to the EPA, the results were "extremely low, almost at background detection levels".

Irish Cement has obtained 10-year planning permission to replace fossil fuels at its Limerick site with 'lower carbon alternative fuels'.

However, the Limerick Against Pollution group has said that Irish Cement can't be trusted due to its recent poor environmental record.

The group also raised concerns about the possibility of dioxins in infant formula, made from milk in the area.

However, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said the infant formulae plant, does not use raw liquid milk as an ingredient. The products and their ingredients will be subject to strict monitoring, it said.

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The FSAI also confirmed that it is vegetable sources of fat and skim milk powder that are used to make Infant Formula – this process omits the animal fat where dioxins, if present, may be stored.

The EPA carries out an annual dioxin National survey - consisting of 38 milk samples countrywide and the Mungret location will now be included in the national dioxin monitoring programme samples  surveyed annually by the EPA.

The results of the 38 samples (now 39) are normally published together as part of the annual EPA Air Quality reports, but in view of the  local concerns it was agreed to issue the results of the Mungret sample to the HSE as soon as they became available.


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