Toxic waste handling can pose some very serious health effects on human life and when not handled properly, can end up causing environmental effects as well. The Environmental Protection Agency in the US generated close to 40 million tons of toxic waste in 2007 where the primary source of this hazardous waste was basic chemical manufacturing. Waste management companies now offer compaction equipment (trash compactor) to help residents and business owners to have a more efficient waste management practice. There is also the option of talking to your waste management company about the option of recycling the waste.
You will also find many toxic waste products in homes as well in items like single-use-batteries, electronics, household cleaners, etc. Which all contains hazardous materials and can be very harmful to human health and the environment as well if not disposed of properly. Here are some of the dangers you can be exposed to if you don’t properly dispose of the different hazardous waste materials.
Another name for electronic waste. E-waste accounted for about 2 million tons of all the 2007 waste materials in the US, an estimate by the EPA. And you find that out of the 2 million, only 18% was recycled which means the other percent went into the landfills. These products contain several highly toxic substances like lead, mercury, and even calcium, which can leach the soil and even possibly contain the groundwater. Lead exposure, for example, when exposed to children, can end up causing brain damage. Cadmium exposure can cause cancer in humans and even kidney damage.
2. Improper disposal
Household waste disposal isn’t monitored or regulated by the EPA, which leaves the proper disposal of any household materials in the hands of the household members. In such a case, if any hazardous waste materials are not properly disposed of in the trash, they can end up causing serious harm to both the people who are constantly interacting with the bins or even the environment. Household items like the compact fluorescent bulbs contain small amounts of mercury. If any broken or damaged bulb is disposed of improperly and the mercury ends up in the air, it can cause great risks to any unborn children and even cause neurological damage. The EPA recommends that any such broken bulbs be disposed of by placing them in a sealed container or plastic bag before being thrown in the litter.
Some toxic waste materials don’t just need to be disposed of properly or kept away where they can’t cause any harm. Some may be so hazardous, like the toxic waste materials from hospitals, that they need to be completely incinerated. But if not done properly, incinerated wastes can also release harmful substances into the air like dioxins which are the by-products of herbicide products. Long-term exposure to these substances can cause severe nervous system disorders and even short-term exposure can cause irritations like skin lesions or impaired liver function, research done by the World Health Organization.
4. The long-term effects
Toxic waste materials like lead and mercury pose additional environmental and human health hazards when any is exposed in the open and humans interact with them over a long period of time. These toxic substances accumulate in the human and animal tissue and their continued exposure increases their toxicity levels.
One of the safest ways you can ensure these toxic substances never come back to haunt you is by recycling them. Recycling these toxic waste materials also helps to keep them from the landfills, thus protecting the environment as well.