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Re: A bit of history, for those new to the anti-dioxin movement
> From: Jon Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> The operation of this relatively small
> medical waste incinerator - which NEVER had a stack
> test - was followed by a DOUBLING of asthma visits
> to hospitals and clinics and asthma deaths.
While dioxin may play a role in asthma, I would hazard to guess that it
is not the predominant reason for the asthma. One of the problems of a
poorly-run and uncontrolled incinceration system, such as a medical
waste incinerator, is that a lot more can come out of the stack than
just dioxins and furans. If the hospital made no effort to remove
plastics or place non-chlorinated plastic in inventory, then it is a
safe bet that over 50 tons a year of hydrochloric acid (HCl) were being
emitted into the air each year - right over the hospital. If that were
not bad enough, you'd also have a significant amount of toxic metals
leaving the stack, predominantly cadmium, lead, and mercury; plus the
standard criteria pollutants - oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, and
carbon monoxide. If it was poorly run (which is kind of hard to tell
without a stack test - oh how convenient) then CO could have AVERAGED
in at about 5000 to 10000 ppm. AND if all of that were not bad enough,
hospitals rarely build their stacks high enough. So the tons of crap
leaving the stack will roll off the stack, immediately down onto the
hospital grounds, and cavitate in and around buildings.
The dioxin/health impact research is extremely valuable and we need
more of it; but a lot of other substances are present in the same areas
many large health impacts occur and in quantities that rival or exceed
the dioxin impact. While it is the focus of this group, we *should*
keep in mind that it is sometimes not the predominant problem or that
other problems also have to be solved to have any meaningful impact.
In addition, and a big idea, to remove a dioxin threat, it may prove
prudent to attack the other problems of the source, which may be more
easily documented and have the source removed sooner.
SOME MISC NOTES:
Now before all of you get worked up about incinerators (I know, it is
too late for that), know now that I defend them also. Paul Connett and
I agree that these can be a problem, but after that it is safer not to
put us in the same room.
One of the odd bits of facts that is sometimes overlooked is important
-> if you control the dioxin emissions, then you end up controlling a
lot of the other emissions also, and not just chlorinated organics.
As to operating a medical waste incinerator with no control technology
- I'd consider it a criminal offense given today's wealth of
information on these sources.