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Incinerators reduce the volume of visible waste, turning it into ashes and smoke which can cause local and global environmental pollution due to particulate matter (PM), dioxins, furans, hydrochloric acid, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, sulfur and nitrogen dioxides. In order to describe cancers and non-neoplastic diseases in populations exposed to incinerator pollution, the scientific literature available since 1987 has been selected on the basis of the best epidemiological evidences. In Italy, women who lived for at least 5 years in areas that were likely to be the most polluted by heavy metals, showed increased risk of death from all causes (relative risk, RR=1.17-1.54). In France, an incidence study found increases in all cancer risks both in males (RR=1.06) who resided in areas where dioxin pollution was estimated to be higher than it was in the referent areas (less dioxin polluted).
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