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Issue Date:- 2 June 2008

North West England Places 3rd On UK Junk Mail League Table

ACCORDING to research findings from The REaD Group; the UK’s leading data asset management specialists; North West England has placed 3rd on the Company’s inaugural UK Junk Mail League Table, receiving an estimated 441 million items of unsolicited post over the past 12 months.   "North Western residents can be forgiven for feeling like they’re drowning in a veritable junk mail tsunami.   This ranking will undoubtedly come as cold comfort to already junk mail-besieged householders. Joining the North West on the UK’s most junk mailed Top 5 are: (1) South East (527 million items); (2) London (485 million items); (4) East (357 million items); and (5) West Midlands (344 million items).  Adding further insult to injury, we believe an additional 6 million items of junk mail were sent to deceased North West residents in 2007. Whilst the distress caused by these unsolicited mailings to grieving family members and friends is incalculable, these figures do, unfortunately, support earlier research undertaken by The REaD Group in 2006, which found that upwards of 1/3rd of direct mail is regularly dispatched by companies without any name or address checks.   It’s little wonder then that an estimated 25% of UK household paper waste is comprised of discarded direct mail items." commented The REaD Group’s CEO, Mark Roy, in announcing the Company’s findings.

A recently released survey from OfCom, the UK’s independent communications regulator, indicating that 70% of consumers are concerned about the amount of personal information companies hold about them is also contributing to the growing perfect storm surrounding junk mail. Add to this the 31% of complaints relating to charity direct mail received of late by the Fundraising Standards Board as well as Government inaction on tougher sentences for mail-related crimes such as identity theft and impersonation of the dead, and the letterbox lamentof the average UK householder becomes an ever-bleaker one.   "We’re not out to be direct mail kill-joys.  Like many of us I enjoy receiving the occasional discount offer or voucher. But I believe we fast need to affect a paradigm shift in the uses and abuses of direct mail, to the benefit of consumers, the economy and the environment alike."  said Mr Roy.  It’s not all bad news, however. Suggested tips for householders from The REaD Group to better control junk mail include:-

· Registering with a junk mail control service such as www.itsmypost.com or www.mpsonline.org.uk.

· Registering a deceased loved one or friend with www.thebereavementregister.org.uk to prevent junk mail being sent after their death

· Displaying a No Junk Mailsign on their letterbox or door

· Tearing up or shredding discarded junk mail items so that name, address, bank account and/or other personal information cannot be used by ID fraudsters.

Second hand smoke increases risk of meningitis in infants

INFANTS and children who are exposed to second hand smoke in the home could be at risk from deadly diseases such as meningitis, a new study has revealed.

Passive smoking weakens the immune system in babies and toddlers which puts them more at risk from infectious diseases including meningitis and septicaemia.

The study was carried out by scientists in Hong Kong and now Meningitis UK is warning UK parents to be aware of potential problems.

The study, published on the Tobacco Control journal website, looked at 7,402 children who were born in 1997 until their 8th birthday. Those exposed to fumes within a 3 metre range were associated with a higher risk of hospital admission, and premature babies or those less than 3 months old were most at risk.

Kate Rowland, Head of Development at Meningitis UK, said:- “We welcomed the cigarette bans in public places throughout the UK but now this research shows how important it is to avoid smoking around young children in the home as well. 

Here at Meningitis UK we represent thousands of families who have suffered the devastation of meningitis and our sole focus is to find a vaccine to eradicate the disease completely. 

In the absence of a vaccine it is imperative that measures are taken to reduce the risk, including avoiding smoking around babies and young children.”

Parents who smoke increase the risk of their babies catching meningitis because cigarette smoke helps the bacteria adhere to the tissues lining the throat.

Kate added:- “To ensure we reach our goal even faster and save more lives, many of our research projects add value to work already being undertaken by industry.

Last year we launched our Search 4 a Vaccine Campaign to raise Ł7million to support the breakthroughs which are currently being made. 

Great advances have been made in the last 20 years including vaccines against Hib, Meningitis C and Pneumococcal Meningitis and our scientists believe that with enough support, a vaccine against Meningitis B could be found within the next few years.”

For more information about Meningitis UK, or to support the charity’s Search 4 a Vaccine Campaign, call 0117 373 7373 or visit www.meningitisUK.org.

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