In 2009 the World Health Organisation reaffirmed that crystalline silica is a known carcinogen.
Quarrying on this scale can generate airborne silica dust and other microscopic particulate which can travel some distance. The fact that this is a coastal quarry means that fine dust will certainly be carried downwind 2km, the primary school is less than 1km away. Although gabbro is not generally characterised by high content of crystalline silica, in even very small amounts this can cause long term health hazards which include silicosis, pulmonary disease and cancer. Fine dust of any nature can create breathing problems for people who have asthma, emphysema, and other obstructive lung diseases. Because the small particles never leave the lungs, the sharp edges can continue to cause irritation and inflammation for many years to come. Disease may not show up until years later, even if a person is no longer breathing silica containing dust.
Children, the elderly, and people who already have health problems are more affected by exposure to fine dust, but anyone can be made ill by breathing this air pollutant.
Since Dean Quarry was last operational there has been much research done regarding the health issues around the PM2.5 (fraction of total). These are particulates of 2.5 micrometres, or less, in diameter and are invisible to the eye. Black carbon can also be a major component of PM2.5 (fraction of suspended dust from industrial operations) and this is found in the emissions from diesel vehicles, especially HGVs and also quarry haul trucks and loaders. The World Health Organisation believes this to be a ‘major cancer risk and as deadly as asbestos and mustard gas’ which, in this day and age, make it highly inappropriate to have a quarry of the proposed size so near to population centres and indeed so very close to a primary school.
Elevating Dean Quarry to a super quarry with all the associated noise, dust and light pollution is irresponsible so close to residential communities. This will threaten both the health and well-being of local residents. Glensanda Quarry in Scotland is 7 miles from the nearest road. To permit this development so close to homes, hamlets and villages would be a betrayal of all of us on The Lizard.
Shire Oak Quarries Ltd admit that they have not considered the finer particles (<PM2.5) which are known to have significant health risks.
“The increased size, mineral extraction rates, loading and transport will increase airborne concentrations of very fine particulates (as well as noise), which can be transported in land via common onshore winds and sea breezes. These can extend kilometres inland during warm and dry conditions despite efforts to dampen these emissions. It is known that increased exposure to fine particulates (<PM2.5) increases the risk of developing and/or exacerbating respiratory diseases (e.g. childhood asthma) and noise (particularly nocturnal) can be detrimental to health and well-being”. Dr Richard Sharp
CADS have discussed different methods of managing dust with the site manager at Glensanda (a Super Quarry in Scotland), who said that however good the intentions it is impossible to stop it all. Quarry workers have masks and other respiratory protection. Our children do not!