The BOC plant at Maydown

The BOC plant at Maydown

A health risk assessment is to be carried out at a housing estate after tonnes of cancer-causing chemicals were dumped near homes.

Environmental health officers are to look into the health of Lettershandoney residents in Co Derry after it was revealed Naptha tar, a soup of chemicals linked to a range of illnesses by medical experts including cancer and attacks on the body’s central nervous system, was dumped in the area 40 years ago.

Residents had called for a proper investigation into the dumping of waste by the British Oxygen Company (BOC) plant which operated at Maydown in the 1970s and 1980s to provide gas power to the adjacent DuPont plant.

Part of the process led to a tarry waste which was taken away by the lorry load and dumped in at least eight sites.

The dumping was carried out legally due to the lack of controls at the time.

One of the sites is at a former bogland at the Flough on the outskirts of Lettershandoney where residents claim an “extraordinarily” high number of people have suffered from various illnesses over the years.

The DOE has revealed an investigation in 1996 into one sites in the area found the risks to health were low and that no long-term measures were identified.

However, the Environment Minister Mark H Durkan is to order a new probe and will be asking environmental health officers from Derry City Council to carry out the investigation as they have the “expertise.”



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