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Chemical wastes - illegal hazards and legal remedies.
Am J Publ Health 1981 Sep; 71(9):985-987
The dispersion and accumulation of chemical wastes in the United States was discussed with regard to illegal dumping and prospective remedies. Legal and illegal waste disposal sites were estimated to number between 30,000 and 50,000. Potential dangers of such sites included exposure of workers and area residents to toxic chemicals in the forms of fumes and sludges, the potential for fire and explosions with the formation of toxic combustion products, and the contamination of ground and surface waters. Workers could be affected by topical exposure to wastes or by fume exposures. Wastes were also hazardous to firefighters who might be exposed to toxic substances when managing waste fires. Use of protective equipment was briefly discussed. Actions recommended to reduce the risks of toxic exposure and environmental build up included the prevention of unsafe releases of toxic wastes, recycling whenever possible, and regulation of dumping with regard to the specific toxicity, corrosiveness, and flammability of each chemical discarded. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund) was reviewed in terms of its effect on the future clean up of hazardous wastes released into the environment by fires, spill, and improper disposal and also with regard to the study of the potential long term health effects of hazardous waste disposal practices.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-hazards; Environmental-pollution; Worker-health; Toxic-effects; Industrial-hygiene; Waste-disposal; Legislation; Chemical-manufacturing-industry; Waste-treatment; Industrial-wastes
Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, NIOSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Public Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division