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Environmental Risk Assessment: Household Hazardous Waste Management

Autor:   •  May 24, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  2,157 Words (9 Pages)  •  386 Views

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There are many environmental issues that local governments use different risk assessment procedures to predict potential risks to human health and the environment. An environmental risk assessment (ERA) is a process of predicting whether there may be a risk of adverse effects on the environment caused by a chemical substance. In doing an environmental risk assessment, it can help us decide if we there is a need to limit the potential environmental consequences of a substance and if there is a need to research the substance further (Environmental Risk Assessment, 2006).

Household hazardous wastes are an environmental issue topic that most communities across the country are being faced with. Any household product that contains toxic or hazardous substances that has been used and or discarded is considered a household hazardous waste. There are four categories of household hazardous wastes: flammable, corrosive, explosive, and toxic or poisonous substances ("Household Hazardous Waste (hhw) ", 2017). The problems communities are faced with are that these products are being disposed of improperly or managed poorly and end up in our landfills or in our water systems where they can become a danger to our health and our environment.

In Denver, Colorado, we are striving to reduce the amount of household hazardous wastes that end up in our water systems and in our landfills by offering safe hazardous waste disposal. In 2016, Denver residents collected 265,000 pounds of household hazardous waste (City and County of Denver, 2017). This paper will research what our community found to be the long-term costs and benefits of having household hazardous waste management in place and what the economic, social, and environmental benefits that it has brought to Denver, Colorado. We will compare the cost-benefit analysis to a no action alternative and conclude with how we came to our final course of action.

Environmental Impacts of household hazardous waste

When we throw things away they simply do not disappear they go to landfills, or incinerator. When trash ends up in the landfill it is not isolated to that location but it is exposed and connected to the environment through water in the form of snow or rain, and even humidity. If the household hazardous waste is water soluble it will dissolve and become susceptible to the water cycle traveling wherever water travels. Even if a landfill is lined it does not mean that it is impermeable, some chemicals and substances can eat through the liners allowing them to seep through into the ground water. When it comes to incinerating our trash even with control devices for pollutants it can still escape into the environment. Some household items like dry cell batteries, and fluorescent light bulbs can emit mercury which can still escape into the air, and then into streams, lakes and ground water


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