Pollution in Haifa
Pollution in HaifaFlash 90

Israel's Health Ministry and Environmental Protection Ministry on Sunday announced that they would halt the research investigating the effects of pollution on cancer rates and asthma in the Haifa Bay area.

The research was started after residents and workers of the Haifa Bay area registered higher-than-average cancer and asthma rates.

According to the report, the study was halted because previous studies were found to be flawed.

"The Health Minister and Environmental Protection Minister agreed the the research team's request to end the study before its conclusion," the announcement said. "This is true also for the measurement of air pollution as connected to babies' birth weight."

"In August 2016, the ministers accepted the proposal to end three of the modules which examined cancer, childhood asthma, and security force candidates' asthma, after the research team discovered that there was no way to accurately assess the connection between air pollution and morbidity.

"The Environmental Protection Ministry is now looking to begin a new research on the subject.

"We are focusing on the health of Haifa Bay residents, and we want to know the full picture. We want to know for certain if there is a connection between air pollution and residents' health."

According to Haifa University's Professor Micha Barchana, "No matter which aspect you investigate, you will find higher morbidity in Haifa."

"There is a clear connection between air pollution and morbidity. It is well known that air pollution can cause babies to be born with low birth weights. The research supports other studies showing a connection between air pollution and heart disease, as well as respiratory disease in children.

"These are just some of the things that Haifa's air pollution can cause."

"The Haifa Municipality insists the government find the proper methodology and investigate, once and for all, the connection between air pollution and its results. Until then, we must work to halt any projects which may harm the environment," the Haifa Municipality said in a statement.

In February 2016, a study was published showing that babies born in and around the Haifa area are 20-30 percent smaller than babies in other areas of the country that have less air pollution. This sparked a debate, and the Israeli government agreed to begin a study which would examine the effects of pollution on Haifa's residents.