tion” is a general term that refers to the process of burning waste through the use of incinerators, industrial boilers, or furnaces, kilns, or other facilities.


The committee was specifically asked to assess relationships between various aspects of waste combustion and estimates of human health risk. The committee was asked to consider, to the extent practicable, the following issues for the combustion of hazardous, nonhazardous, and hospital wastes:

  • Relationships between human health risk estimates and various design, siting, and operating conditions at waste-combustion facilities, including incinerators, cement kilns, industrial furnaces, and industrial boilers.

  • Operating practices at combustion facilities and expectations regarding technology and the release of hazardous substances.

  • Appropriate methods for assessing the siting, design, and operation of combustion facilities.

  • Appropriate health-based performance criteria for demonstrating that a combustion facility meets and maintains agreed upon health-risk tolerance levels.

  • Types of scientific, technical, and other information that should be provided to government officials, industry managers, and the general public to help them understand and weigh the risks associated with waste combustion and its alternatives including innovative ways of oxidizing waste.

  • Public perceptions of waste combustion and their bases.

It is important to note that the committee was not asked to assess the magnitude of health risks associated with individual waste-incineration facilities. Also, the committee was not asked to develop its own health-risk tolerance levels for incineration facilities.

The committee formed to address this charge was composed of persons with expertise in incineration technology, emission characterization, transformations and fate of environmental pollutants, exposure and dose characterization, public health, health risk assessment, sociology, risk perception and risk communication, and law. Biographical information on the members is provided in Appendix A.


In developing an approach to its task, the committee received oral and written testimony from interested or affected citizens; community activists; industry representatives; environmental advocates; professional scientists and engineers; and local, state, and federal government officials. The committee also gathered and considered relevant available information.

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