When broken down into their component parts, hazardous and toxic substances are composed of heavy metals and other harmful chemicals. Table 4.1 below lists some major components of these substances and where they are found in both the human and physical environment.
The Table also shows the respective functionality of the human system that is affected by the contaminants.
Table 4.1: Hazardous Substance, Sources and Effects
|3||Cadmium||Old batteries||Respiratory, renal, nervous|
|Car exhaust, unvented or faulty furnaces||Respiratory, Reproductive, Cardiovascular, Nervous|
|6||Soot||Furnaces, wood burning stoves||Respiratory|
|7||Lead||Old paint, outdated plumbing||Renal, reproductive, Immune|
|8||Mercury||Thermostats, thermometers, Fish||Renal, immune, skin|
|9||Uranium||Food and water, proximity to nuclear testing sites||Renal|
|10||Chlorinated hydrocarbon solvent||Degreasers, paint removers, dry cleaning solutions||Renal|
|11||Carbon disulfide||Industrial production||Cardiovascular|
|13||Methylene chloride||Auto part cleaners, paint removers||Cardiovascular, hepatic|
|14||Methyl mercury||Fish, coal-burning power||Reproductive|
|15||Arsenic||Pressure treated wood||Nervous, skin|
|17||Pesticides||Unwashed fruits and vegetables||Immune|
|18||Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)||Industrial waste, fish from contaminated water||Immune, skin|
|19||Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)||Cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust, asphalt roads||Immune|
|21||Chromium||Paints, industrial production||Skin|
|22||VOC (volatile organic compounds)||Fumes from gasoline, paint, adhesives, building supplies||Skin|
|24||Vinyl chloride||Pipe sealer||Hepatic|
Source: Adapted from the Booklet of Health Effects of Chemical Exposure
Read Also : Hazardous Substance Treatment and Disposal
The understanding of the interrelationships among hazardous and toxic substances and soil, plant, water and aquatic life and human health is expected to inform a proper waste management method for the betterment of the complex web of life in the environment.
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