National Academies Press: OpenBook

Waste Incineration and Public Health (2000)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
×

WASTE INCINERATION & PUBLIC HEALTH

Committee on Health Effects of Waste Incineration

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

Commission on Life Sciences

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This project was supported by Grant No. EPA-R-822039 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Grant No. DHHS-U5O/ATU39903 from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Energy. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Waste incineration and public health / Committee on Health Effects of Waste Incineration, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-06371-X (casebound)

1. Hazardous wastes—Incineration—Health aspects. 2. Health risk assessment. 3. Incineration—Health aspects. 4. Medical wastes—Incineration. 5. Pollution prevention. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Health Effects of Waste Incineration.

RA578.H38 W37 2000

363.72'87—dc21

00-009914

Waste Incineration and Public Health is available from the

National Academy Press
, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Box 285, Washington, DC 20055 (1-800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 in the Washington metropolitan area; Internet: http://www.nap.edu).

Copyright 2000 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Engineering

Institute of Medicine

National Research Council

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
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×

COMMITTEE ON HEALTH EFFECTS OF WASTE INCINERATION

DONALD R. MATTISON (Chair),

March of Dimes, White Plains, New York

REGINA AUSTIN,

University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

PAUL C. CHROSTOWSKI,

CPF Associates, Inc., Takoma Park, Maryland

MARJORIE J. CLARKE,

Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey

EDMUND A. CROUCH,

Cambridge Environmental, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts

MARY R. ENGLISH,

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee

DOMINIC GOLDING,

Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

IAN A. GREAVES,

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

S. KATHARINE HAMMOND,

University of California, Berkeley, California

ALLEN HERSHKOWITZ,

Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, New York

ROBERT J. MCCORMICK,

Franklin Engineering Group, Inc., Franklin, Tennessee

THOMAS E. MCKONE,

University of California, Berkeley, California

ADEL F. SAROFIM,

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

CARL M. SHY,

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

GEORGE D. THURSTON,

New York University School of Medicine, Tuxedo, New York

Staff

RAYMOND A. WASSEL, Project Director

CAROL A. MACZKA, Senior Staff Officer

BONNIE SCARBOROUGH, Research Assistant

ERIC B. KUCHNER, Intern

KATHRINE IVERSON, Information Specialist

MIRSADA KARALIC-LONCAREVIC, Information Specialist

TRACIE HOLBY, Senior Project Assistant

RUTH DANOFF, Senior Project Assistant

CATHERINE KUBIK, Senior Project Assistant

Sponsors

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Department of Energy

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
×
z

BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY

GORDON ORIANS (Chair),

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

DONALD R. MATTISON (Vice Chair),

March of Dimes, White Plains, New York

DAVID ALLEN,

University of Texas, Austin, Texas

INGRID C. BURKE,

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

WILLIAM L. CHAMEIDES,

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

JOHN DOULL,

University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas

CHRISTOPHER B. FIELD,

Carnegie Institute of Washington, Stanford, California

JOHN GERHART,

University of California, Berkeley, California

J. PAUL GILMAN,

Celera Genomics, Rockville, Maryland

BRUCE D. HAMMOCK,

University of California, Davis, California

MARK HARWELL,

University of Miami, Miami, Florida

ROGENE HENDERSON,

Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico

CAROL HENRY,

Chemical Manufacturers Association, Arlington, Virginia

BARBARA S. HULKA,

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

JAMES F. KITCHELL,

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

DANIEL KREWSKI,

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario

JAMES A. MAC MAHON,

Utah State University, Logan, Utah

MARIO J. MOLINA,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

CHARLES O'MELIA,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

WILLEM F. PASSCHIER,

Health Council of the Netherlands

KIRK SMITH,

University of California, Berkeley, California

MARGARET STRAND,

Oppenheimer Wolff Donnelly & Bayh, LLP, Washington, D.C.

TERRY F. YOSIE,

Chemical Manufacturers Association, Arlington, Virginia

Senior Staff

JAMES J. REISA, Director

DAVID J. POLICANSKY, Associate Director and

Senior Program Director for

Applied Ecology

CAROL A. MACZKA, Senior Program Director for

Toxicology and Risk Assessment

RAYMOND A. WASSEL, Senior Program Director for

Environmental Sciences and Engineering

KULBIR BAKSHI, Program Director for the

Committee on Toxicology

LEE R. PAULSON, Program Director for

Resource Management

ROBERTA M. WEDGE, Program Director for

Risk Analysis

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
×

COMMISSION ON LIFE SCIENCES

MICHAEL T. CLEGG (Chair),

University of California, Riverside, California

PAUL BERG (Vice Chair),

Stanford University, Stanford, California

FREDERICK R. ANDERSON,

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Washington, D.C.

JOANNA BURGER,

Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey

JAMES E. CLEAVER,

University of California, San Francisco, California

DAVID S. EISENBERG,

University of California, Los Angeles, California

JOHN L. EMMERSON,

Fishers, Indiana

NEAL L. FIRST,

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

DAVID J. GALAS,

Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Science, Claremont, California

DAVID V. GOEDDEL,

Tularik, Inc., South San Francisco, California

ARTURO GOMEZ-POMPA,

University of California, Riverside, California

COREY S. GOODMAN,

University of California, Berkeley, California

JON W. GORDON,

Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

DAVID G. HOEL,

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina

BARBARA S. HULKA,

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

CYNTHIA J. KENYON,

University of California, San Francisco, California

BRUCE R. LEVIN,

Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

DAVID M. LIVINGSTON,

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts

DONALD R. MATTISON,

March of Dimes, White Plains, New York

ELLIOT M. MEYEROWITZ,

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California

ROBERT T. PAINE,

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

RONALD R. SEDEROFF,

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

ROBERT R. SOKAL,

State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York

CHARLES F. STEVENS,

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California

SHIRLEY M. TILGHMAN,

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

RAYMOND L. WHITE,

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Staff

WARREN R. MUIR, Executive Director

JACQUELINE K. PRINCE, Financial Officer

BARBARA B. SMITH, Administrative Associate

LAURA T. HOLLIDAY, Senior Program Assistant

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
×

OTHER REPORTS OF THE BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY

Scientific Frontiers in Developmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment (2000)

Modeling Mobile-Source Emissions (2000)

Copper in Drinking Water (2000)

Ecological Indicators for the Nation (2000)

Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment (1999)

Research Priorities for Airborne Particulate Matter: I. Immediate Priorities and a Long-Range Research Portfolio (1998); II. Evaluating Research Progress and Updating the Portfolio (1999)

Ozone-Forming Potential of Reformulated Gasoline (1999)

Risk-Based Waste Classification in California (1999)

Arsenic in Drinking Water (1999)

Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area (1998)

The National Research Council's Committee on Toxicology: The First 50 Years (1997)

Toxicologic Assessment of the Army's Zinc Cadmium Sulfide Dispersion Tests (1997)

Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens in the Human Diet (1996)

Upstream: Salmon and Society in the Pacific Northwest (1996)

Science and the Endangered Species Act (1995)

Wetlands: Characteristics and Boundaries (1995)

Biologic Markers (5 reports, 1989-1995)

Review of EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (3 reports, 1994-1995)

Science and Judgment in Risk Assessment (1994)

Ranking Hazardous Waste Sites for Remedial Action (1994)

Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children (1993)

Issues in Risk Assessment (1993)

Setting Priorities for Land Conservation (1993)

Protecting Visibility in National Parks and Wilderness Areas (1993)

Dolphins and the Tuna Industry (1992)

Hazardous Materials on the Public Lands (1992)

Science and the National Parks (1992)

Animals as Sentinels of Environmental Health Hazards (1991)

Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program, Volumes I-IV (1991-1993)

Human Exposure Assessment for Airborne Pollutants (1991)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
×

Monitoring Human Tissues for Toxic Substances (1991)

Rethinking the Ozone Problem in Urban and Regional Air Pollution (1991)

Decline of the Sea Turtles (1990)

Copies of these reports may be ordered from the National Academy Press

(800) 624-6242

(202) 334-3313

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
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Preface

The National Research Council (NRC) established the Committee on Health Effects of Waste Incineration to assess relationships between human health and incineration of hazardous waste, municipal solid waste, and medical waste. In this report, the committee explains its findings and recommendations about waste incineration and public health.

Despite differences in waste composition and incineration processes, the same types of pollutants of concern can be emitted by each kind of incinerator. Therefore, the committee took a generic approach in addressing the dispersion of pollutants from incineration facilities into the environment, pathways of human exposure, possible health effects, social issues, and community interactions. The committee did not compare risks posed by the different types of waste incineration, nor did it assess risks posed by any particular waste-incineration facility. As discussed in this report, even within the same type of waste incineration, there is broad variability in the emission patterns of pollutants, facility-specific emission characteristics (e.g., stack height and local weather conditions that can affect dispersion of released pollutants), the number of people potentially exposed to incineration emissions, and the total contaminant burden of those people resulting from all pollutant sources.

It is also important to keep in mind that the committee was not asked to compare the health risks attributable to waste incineration with those attributable to other waste-management alternatives, such as land disposal. Therefore, the committee took no position on the merits of incineration compared with other waste-management alternatives.

During the course of its deliberations, the committee reviewed scientific

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2000. Waste Incineration and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5803.
×

literature, government-agency reports, and unpublished data. The committee solicited information from persons representing federal, state, and local governments; academe; technical consulting firms; environmental-advocacy organizations; public-interest groups; and communities with waste incinerators in their environs. Several members toured a facility in Lorton, Virginia that incinerates municipal solid waste. The committee received useful information and perspectives from the following persons, who made presentations to the committee: Germaine Buck, State University of New York at Buffalo; Dorothy Canter, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Frank Caponi, County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County; Daniel Carey, American Ref-Fuel Company; Fred Chanania, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; David Doniger, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Lawrence Doucet, Doucet & Mainka, Inc.; Heidi Fiedler, University of Bayreuth, Germany; Simon Friedrich, U.S. Department of Energy; Jeffrey Hahn, Ogden Projects, Inc.; Rick Hind, Greenpeace; Wally Jordan, Waste Energy Technologies, Inc.; Steven Kroll-Smith, University of New Orleans; Stephen Mandel, Rosemount Analytical, Inc.; Melanie Marty, California Environmental Protection Agency; Peter Park, Center for Community Education and Action; Mark Pollins, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Jerome Nriagu, University of Michigan; Juan Reyes, Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, U.S. Public Health Service; Philip C. Sears, Allee, King, Rosen & Fleming; Terri Swearingen, Tri-State Environmental Council; and Stormy Williams, Desert Citizens Against Pollution.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that assist the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. The committee wishes to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: John C. Bailar III, University of Chicago; A. John Bailer, Miami University; Gaylon Campbell, Washington State University; A.J. Chandler, A.J. Chandler & Associates, Ltd.; Caron Chess, Rutgers University Center for Environmental Communication; Walter Dabberdt, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Donald Hornig, Harvard University; Kathryn Kelly, Delta Toxicology Inc.; Richard Magee, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Jonathan Samet, Johns Hopkins University; and Kenneth Sexton, University of Minnesota.

The individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions. It must be emphasized, however, that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

The committee is thankful for the useful input of Kun-Chieh Lee and Sanford S. Penner into its deliberations early in the study. We also wish to express our

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appreciation to the following National Research Council staff members for their effective support of our work: Raymond Wassel, Carol Maczka, James Reisa, Bonnie Scarborough, Ruth Crossgrove, Ruth Danoff, Tracie Holby, Katherine Iverson, Catherine Kubik, Eric Kuchner, and others.

Donald R. Mattison, Chair

Committee on Health Effects of Waste Incineration

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 Ash and Other Residues,

 

63

   

 Summary,

 

65

   

 Conclusions,

 

68

   

 Recommendations,

 

69

 4

 

ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSPORT AND EXPOSURE PATHWAYS OF SUBSTANCES EMITTED FROM INCINERATION FACILITIES

 

71

   

 Transport Pathways in the Environment,

 

73

   

 Assessing Human Exposure to Environmental Contaminants,

 

80

   

 Environmental Dynamics of and Possible Exposures to Various Substances,

 

82

   

 Environmental Pollution Concentrations Associated with Waste Incineration,

 

97

   

 Conclusions,

 

110

   

 Recommendations,

 

111

 5

 

UNDERSTANDING HEALTH EFFECTS OF INCINERATION

 

112

   

 Tools for Evaluating Health Effects,

 

114

   

 Results of Epidemiologic Studies of Incinerator-Exposed Populations,

 

120

   

 Results from Risk Assessment Studies,

 

129

   

 Populations at Risk,

 

161

   

 The Committee's Consensus Judgments about Waste Incineration and Public Health,

 

165

   

 Conclusions and Research Needs,

 

179

 6

 

REGULATION RELATED TO WASTE INCINERATION

 

182

   

 Overview of Incineration Regulations Relevant to Public Health and the Environment,

 

183

   

 Regulations Applicable to Municipal Solid-Waste Incinerators,

 

186

   

 Regulations Applicable to Hazardous-Waste Incinerators,

 

193

   

 Incineration in Connection with Superfund Cleanups,

 

199

   

 Regulations Applicable to Medical-Waste Incinerators,

 

200

   

 Critical Comparison of MACT-Based Regulations,

 

202

   

 Summary of Regulations Relevant to the Occupational Health and Safety of Incineration Employees,

 

203

   

 Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement,

 

209

   

 Conclusions and Recommendations,

 

214

 7

 

SOCIAL ISSUES AND COMMUNITY INTERACTIONS

 

217

   

 Identifying the Affected Area,

 

219

   

 Socioeconomic Impacts of Incineration Facilities,

 

223

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WASTE INCINERATION & PUBLIC HEALTH

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Incineration has been used widely for waste disposal, including household, hazardous, and medical waste--but there is increasing public concern over the benefits of combusting the waste versus the health risk from pollutants emitted during combustion. Waste Incineration and Public Health informs the emerging debate with the most up-to-date information available on incineration, pollution, and human health--along with expert conclusions and recommendations for further research and improvement of such areas as risk communication. The committee provides details on:

  • Processes involved in incineration and how contaminants are released.
  • Environmental dynamics of contaminants and routes of human exposure.
  • Tools and approaches for assessing possible human health effects.
  • Scientific concerns pertinent to future regulatory actions.

The book also examines some of the social, psychological, and economic factors that affect the communities where incineration takes place and addresses the problem of uncertainty and variation in predicting the health effects of incineration processes.

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