Alternative fuels used in cement manufacture (NCE Concrete Supplement 21 November) can pose major health risks, hence the European Commission's formal warning to the UK government for failing to carry out an environmental impact assessment before authorising the use of Cemfuel at Castle Cement's Clitheroe plant.
Engineers need to be aware of what fuel has been used to manufacture cement because of the health and safety implications, both during construction and over the lifetime of the finished structure.
Designers of water supply structures made of concrete might find themselves drawn into negligence actions if heavy metals from concrete made from 'alternative fuels' leach out and add to the cumulative body load of individuals over a period of time.
Engineers should look at the fuel analysis sheets for coal, petcoke, Cemfuel, tyres, process fuels and sewage sludge and consider specifying the cement with the least adverse health impact.
Alternative fuels offer shortterm financial rewards to manufacturers. If the cost of health implications were included, coal would be the only fuel.
Michael Ryan, 44 Gains Avenue, Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury SY3 5AN