Hazardous Waste Affecting Our Community Essay

1677 words - 7 pages

Each year, five hundred thirty thousand tons of hazardous waste are disposed of in the United States alone. Most houses, with an average of four people, produce about twenty pounds of this waste (Solid). Hazardous waste is special because it is harmful and very dangerous. It is deemed hazardous if it contains one or more carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic compounds. This means that they are either cancer causing, capable of damaging our DNA, or can interfere with human fetal development. They are either flammable, may explode, may release toxic fumes, or may break down metal containers that would hold normal waste (Garbage). It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste incorrectly, however, many humans do regardless. Batteries, e-waste from old computers and electronics, cleaners, solvents, antifreeze, oil-based paints, and thinners are examples of household hazardous waste that is often disposed improperly (Garbage).There are governmental regulations that work to prevent improper disposal and encourage the cleanup of improperly disposed waste. The EPA has the power to manage hazardous waste and how it is disposed of including superfund sites. A Superfund site is a declared site that has been used as a hazardous waste disposal area, and has high toxicity levels. Within the superfund, there is the NPL, the National Priorities list, that has the most toxic sites, lots of times located in family neighborhoods and communities. The main reason for the NPL is to cleanup the most dangerous cases as soon as possible, but why? Hazardous waste must be controlled because it is impacting our communities’ health, economies, and quality of life.

Hazardous waste is impacting health in communities. Hazardous waste contains many toxins such as sulfuric acids, heavy metals, silver-bearing waste, solvents, organic chemicals, pesticides, chromium compounds, phosphates, ammonium compounds, cyanide, lead and dioxins (Garbage). When waste is disposed of incorrectly in communities and near communities, these get into the soil of the property and nearby properties, the air, and water. Through this, these toxins make contact with humans. One of the main toxins almost always present are dioxins. Dioxins are chemical byproducts produced by incomplete incineration, during the making of certain pesticides, exhaust, fires, and burning wood. When companies pour their waste into water or onto land, animals eat and drink off the land and then the dioxins are stored in their body fat. From there bioaccumulation and biomagnification occurs. Bioaccumulation is when a toxin builds up in an When humans eat these animals, this is one way dioxins can get into humans. Also, when fruits and vegetables are not washed thoroughly, the remains of pesticides have dioxins in them that humans may eat. Another way is through direct skin contact. If gardening or near contaminated soil, dioxins may get onto your skin. Third, is through the air when near Superfund sites (IDPH). These have...

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