Statement - Southall Waterside health concerns

A council's spokesperson said: “We take residents’ concerns very seriously.  After residents contacted us about odour from the Southall Waterside development we asked Public Health England (PHE) to review air quality monitoring data and provide a report on possible health effects.
 
"PHE has now published three reports which show that it is ‘unlikely that there is a direct toxicological risk to the long-term health of the nearby population’. A fourth report is being worked on and it will be published on the council’s website when we receive it. 

“Despite this, some residents continue to be concerned about the possible risk of cancer and asthma, and so we have reviewed the publicly available data from GP surgeries in Southall within a mile of the site and compared data for these illnesses before remediation work began (2016/17), with data for the two subsequent years (2017/18* and 2018/19). Data shows that there has been no significant change in the percentage of cancer patients registered with these general practices even though the trend regionally and nationally does show significant increases.**
It also shows that there is no significant change in asthma prevalence in general practice in this period. Local analysis shows that there is no significant change in the rate of childhood asthma hospitalisations from this area.
 
“In addition, we have reviewed school absence data for all local schools over the same time period and it shows rates of absence due to illness continue to be lower in Southall than the borough average.  
 
" We will continue to monitor the site and want to hear from anyone experiencing problems and ask they contact us on 020 8825 8111 so we can investigate. Anyone concerned about their health should contact their GP or call the NHS on 111.”

Notes: 
National GP Data can be viewed https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/ 
*This statement was updated on 10 February to clarify that the publicly available data we reviewed compared data before work began in 2016/17 with the two subsequent years, 2017/18 and 2018/19.
**Increased incidence of cancer nationally and regionally due to the ageing population and increased survival rates.
It should be noted that there are limitations to analysing health data. Even if there were statistically significant changes in these health indicators, it is virtually impossible to attribute causation without considering other factors that influence asthma and cancer incidence.
These factors may include any demographic changes in the population (e.g. age and gender), changes in the behaviour of health professionals (e.g. increased recording of these conditions in the general practice registry) and changes in the vast range of risk factors for poor health (e.g. smoking, nutrition, alcohol, employment etc). The development of health conditions such as asthma and cancer is complex and involves multiple interacting factors, including genetics and multiple environmental risk factors.
 
Please note the year dates above are April-March.
 
Remediation works at Southall Waterside started in June 2017 and the soil hospital was dismantled in April 2019.