Rights: The University of Waikato Published 18 June 2008 Download

University of Canterbury’s Associate Professor Simon Kingham’s PhD investigated the effects of a hospital incinerator on air pollution and the effects of this on people’s health. This study is what sparked Simon’s interest in researching the links between air pollution and people’s health.


My PhD was in geography. I actually looked at air pollution and health, so I have kind of done links between air pollution and health for quite a while. In this case, it was actually looking at the health impacts of a hospital incinerator in the north-west of England. Hospital incinerators were interesting at the time because they were covered by a thing called Crown immunity, which meant were not liable for any of the laws in Britain. So there were terrible stories about limbs being put in hospital incinerators with all these dressings and things, and then some guy would throw a match in and hope. And there were literally people recording bits of old dressing with blood on them, and bits of limbs coming out the top, because they weren't operating properly. But they could do that because they were outside of the law. So we looked at the health impacts of that. Now fortunately, the law has changed in Britain now and they can't do that.

David Medcalf
Ian Talty