NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Facility siting and health questions: the burden of health risk uncertainty.
Melius-JM; Costello-RJ; Kominsky-JR
Nat Resour Lawyer 1984 Jul; 17(3):467-472
A review was presented of several evaluations, by researchers from NIOSH, of occupational health problems at or near hazardous waste disposal facilities. A study of the Hyde Park landfill near Niagara Falls, New York, found dioxins, lindane (2385855), and mirex (58899) in dust samples from nearby factories and in bottom sediment of a creek. Although no current health problems of nearby workers were related to these exposures, exposure related effects may only become apparent after many years. Small but significant quantities of airborne particulates near the Rollins Landfill in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were laden with polynuclear aromatic compounds, which evidently caused skin, eye, and respiratory irritation to nearby residents. A followup questionnaire study of firefighters 1 year after a huge fire at a large hazardous waste disposal facility containing unidentified chemicals in Elizabeth, New Jersey, revealed respiratory symptoms in half of the 220 respondents who had reported no chronic symptoms prior to the fire. In Muskegon, Michigan, chemical wastes from several chemical plants led to significant concentrations of over 20 toxic chemicals in local well water. The town's water supply lines had to be extended to rural areas with contaminated wells, and a special water treatment plant built at one chemical company. In Jacksonville, Florida, a fire at a hazardous waste disposal facility storing polychlorinated-biphenyls (1336363) (PCBs) deposited low level PCB contamination in nearby areas and significant PCB concentrations on firefighter equipment. Cleaning the equipment with the usual methods was ineffective, and a solvent based washing technique is currently being attempted. The authors conclude that there are a variety of public health concerns raised by hazardous waste disposal facilities, but that most potential health problems can be prevented or minimized by appropriate planning, orientation, and monitoring.
Waste-disposal; Hazardous-materials; Industrial-wastes; Drinking-water; Questionnaires; Fire-fighting; Chlorinated-biphenyls; Dust-particles; Fire-fighting-equipment
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Issue of Publication
Natural Resources Lawyer
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Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division