The reduction in emissions will lower the potential exposures and risk to populations surrounding incinerators in the environment in general.

  • Based on a consideration of normal operating conditions, implementation of MACT standards is expected to substantially reduce the overall health risks from local impacts of particulate matter, lead, and mercury associated with incineration.

  • It is unlikely whether implementation of MACT will substantially reduce the risks at the regional level posed by the persistent environmental pollutants dioxin, lead, and mercury.

  • MACT was not designed to protect workers, and MACT regulations are unlikely to reduce worker exposures.

Recommendations
  • To increase the power of epidemiologic studies to assess the health effects of incinerators, future multi-site studies should be designed to evaluate combined data from all facilities in a local area as well as multiple localities that contain similar incinerators and incinerator workers, rather than examining health issues site by site.

  • In addition to using other exposure assessment techniques, worker exposures should be evaluated comprehensively through biological monitoring, particularly in combination with efforts to reduce exposures of workers during maintenance operations.

  • Assessments of health risks that are attributable to waste incineration should pay special attention to the risks that might be posed by particulate matter, lead, mercury, and the dioxin and furans, due to their toxicity and environmental prevalence.

  • Health risks attributable to emissions resulting form incinerator upset conditions need to be evaluated. Data are needed on the levels of emissions during process upsets as well as the frequency, severity, and causes of accidents and other off-specification performance to enable adequate risk assessments related to these factors. Such information is needed to address whether or not off-normal emissions are important with respect to possible health effects.

  • Database compilers should strive to accumulate data not only on emissions from individual facilities (as in the Hazardous Waste Combustor database), but also the resulting estimates of ambient concentrations. Facilities that have performed emissions testing have also often performed site-specific air dispersion modeling, so that little extra effort would typically be required. Moreover, the overall contribution of incinerators to pollutants in the total environment would be easier to assess if any known site-specific measurements of background concentrations of incineratorrelated pollutants were also compiled on a plant-by-plant basis.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement