Frequent Questions

What are the main health effects that the Hazardous Waste Combustion Emission Standards Rule addresses?

Dioxins and Furans: 
EPA has concluded that 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and related compounds (commonly referred to as "dioxins and furans") are probable human carcinogens. There is also evidence, both from human populations as well as laboratory animals, to indicate that humans are likely to be at risk for other health effects from exposures to dioxins. These include possible reproductive, developmental, and immunological effects.
 
Lead: 
Children exposed to lead can suffer from damage to the brain and central nervous system, slowed growth, hyperactivity, and behavior and learning problems. Adults exposed to lead can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nervous disorders, and memory and concentration problems.
 
Mercury:
Mercury has its principal effects on the nervous system. Elemental mercury is known to cause tremors, sensory abnormalities, and psycho-neurologic disturbances. Methyl mercury is known to have adverse developmental effects on infants and children, such as delayed walking and talking and impaired neurological performance. It also has adverse neurological effects in adults, such as sensory disturbances, hearing impairment, and decreased coordination. These are toxic substances that persist in the environment and, as with dioxins and methyl mercury, can bioaccumulate in the food chain, leading to potential long-term health impacts.

For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/combust/.
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