After no clear link was found between the studies and Haifa’s high morbidity rates, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environmental Protection call for a halt to the current research and a focus instead on biological monitoring, a methodology that was able to find a connection.
Ilana Curiel|Published: 25.06.17 , 20:38

The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environmental Protection published a joint statement Sunday afternoon, announcing the end of a study examining the link between pollution and morbidity in the Haifa Bay area.

“The Minister of Health and Minister of Environmental Protection accepted the recommendation of the scientific committee accompanying the epidemiological study monitoring the Haifa Bay, which is to not continue the study,” read the statement regarding the study, which ” assessed exposure to air pollution and neonatal developmental measures.”

The statement continued to say, “In August 2016, the ministers accepted the recommendation of the scientific committee to discontinue the implementation of three models in the study on the risk of developing cancer, childhood asthma and asthma of those intended for defense services. This due to the fact that according to the committee’s conclusions, the research methodology and results did in no way point to a clear connection between air pollution in the Haifa Bay region and morbidity rates in the area.

“After receiving the researchers’ data on the models of air quality monitoring, neonatal development and biological monitoring, the only model recommended by the committee is biological monitoring.”

The Ministry of Environmental Protection is therefore asking that researchers apply for studies to look into the issue.

In February 2016, it was reported that infants in polluted parts of the Haifa Bay were born with 20-30% smaller heads than infants born in adjacent, less polluted areas. Additionally, the rate of morbidity in lung cancer and lymphoma is five times higher in the Haifa Bay area than the national average. These findings were raised in a comprehensive study by the University of Haifa. Professor Micha Barchana of the University of Haifa’s School of Public Health said, “It was only expected that such a finding would be uncovered; in every corner you check, you find that morbidity is higher in the Haifa area.”

The Haifa Municipality issued a statement on the matter, saying, that it “demands that the government find a way and methodology to investigate once and for all the connection between the pollution and its consequences, and until then all plans that have environmental impact must be stopped.”,7340,L-4980680,00.html