Nuclear and Hazardous Waste

toxic waste

toxic waste is waste material, often in chemical form, that can cause death or injury to living creatures. It usually is the product of industry or commerce, but comes also from residential use, agriculture, the military, medical facilities, radioactive sources, and light industry, such as dry cleaning establishments. The term is often used interchangeably with "hazardous waste," or discarded material that can pose a long-term risk to health or environment. Toxics can be released into air, water, or land. In 1976 the Toxic Substances Control Act required the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate potentially hazardous industrial chemicals, including halogenated fluorocarbons, dioxin, asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and vinyl chloride. Other federal legislation pertaining to hazardous wastes includes the Atomic Energy Act (1954), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (1976), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or Superfund Act (1986). Toxic waste treatment and control has proved to be expensive and time-consuming with more resources spent on court battles than on actual cleanup. The disposal of toxic wastes is also a topic of international concern. In 1989, some 50 countries signed a treaty aimed at regulating the international shipment of toxic wastes. In some cases such wastes are shipped to developing countries for cheap disposal without the informed consent of their governments. The often substandard shipping, storage, and treatment methods endanger human health and the health of the environment. See air pollution; pollution; solid waste; water pollution.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Nuclear and Hazardous Waste: Selected full-text books and articles

Fruit of the Orchard: Environmental Justice in East Texas By Phyllis Glazer; Roy Flukinger; Eugene Hargrove; Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press, 2006
All Mixed Up about Mixed Waste By Leonard, Rebecca Environmental Law, Vol. 32, No. 1, Winter 2002
Revisiting a Hazardous Waste Site 25 Years Later By Harris, Glenn; Nelson, Leah Journal of Environmental Health, Vol. 69, No. 9, May 2007
Place Making, Hazardous Waste, and the Development of Tooele County, Utah By Shumway, J. Matthew; Jackson, Richard H The Geographical Review, Vol. 98, No. 4, October 2008
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