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---July 24, 1987---
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Does burning municipal garbage produce air pollution that might harm humans?[1] This is part 2 of our series to answer that question.

We know that "mass burn" or "trash to steam" plants produce dioxin. Part of the dioxin goes up the stack and becomes air pollution and the remainder of the dioxin stays with the ash. If the ash is thrown into a landfill, the dioxin goes with it. If rain enters the landfill and soaks the ash, the water that runs off (or sinks through the bottom of) the landfill will contain small amounts of dioxin. In this way, dioxins may be spread through the local environment.

But what other chemicals will be produced by burning garbage? What other chemicals will be emitted from the stack, or will stay with the ash, ready to enter the local environment later on? The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducted research on this question in 1979. At their Ames, Iowa, laboratory, two DOE researchers (G.A. Junk and C. S. Ford) looked through a large body of scientific literature, seeking studies that had measured one or more organic chemicals in the ash or in the flue gases of plants burning municipal garbage. Organic chemicals are chemicals that contain carbon atoms. (Inorganic chemicals do not contain carbon atoms.) The resulting list of chemicals was published in 1979 in a scientific journal called CHEMOSPHERE, Vol. 9, pgs. 187-230. The Junk-Ford study identified 217 individual organic chemicals that have been identified by one researcher or another studying the ash or flue gases from mass burn plants. This does not mean that ONLY 217 organic chemicals are produced by mass burn plants; it means AT LEAST 217 are produced. Studies since 1979 has revealed others, but here we're going to focus on just the original Junk-Ford list of 217.

We wanted to know if any of these 217 chemicals had been studied for their effects on humans or laboratory animals. So we turned to Irving Sax's standard reference book, DANGEROUS PROPERTIES OF INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS and we looked up the 217 chemicals. If we didn't find a particular chemical in Sax, we then looked it up in the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health book, REGISTRY OF TOXIC EFFECTS OF CHEMICAL SUBSTANCES, which we call RTECS for short.

Inside parentheses, following the name of each chemical, we list what we found in Sax or RTECS. Sax assigns toxicity ratings: low, moderate and high. We have reported those ratings. If a chemical is known to cause cancer in humans or animals, we report that. If a chemical causes neoplasms, we report that; neoplasms are tumors that don't metastasize (spread) the way cancer tumors spread. The word "Sax" or the word "RTECS" by itself inside parenthese indicates that that chemical is listed by that source but the chemical is not noted as a particular hazard. (This is not to say we are volunteering to breathe it; it just means that Sax or RTECS don't list it as a special hazard.) If a chemical has the words "no data" inside parentheses, it means either the chemical wasn't listed in Sax or RTECS, or the listing said that nothing was known about the hazards of that chemical. An incinerator that puts chemicals into the human environment when there is "no data" on the effects of those chemicals, is conducting an (uncontrolled) experiment on the affected humans.
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
=============== [1] Information in this newsletter derived from: Irving Sax, DANGEROUS PROPERTIES OF INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS [Fifth edition] (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979); and Richard J. Lewis, Sr., editor, REGISTRY OF TOKXIC EFFECTS OF CHEMICAL SUBSTANCES [1978 edition] (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979); and G.A. Junk and C.S. Ford, "A Review of Organic Emissions From Selected Combustion Processes," CHEMOSPHERE Vol. 9 (1980), pgs. 187-230.

acenaphthene (animal neoplasms: Sax). acenaphthylene (animal cancer: RTECS). acetaldehyde (toxicity moderate: Sax). acetic acid (toxicity moderate: Sax). acetone (toxicity moderate: Sax). acetonitrile (Sax). acrylonitrile (human cancer: Sax). aldrin (animal cancer: Sax). aniline (animal cancer: Sax). anthanthrene (animal neoplasms: RTECS). anthracene (human cancer: Sax). anthracenonitrile (No data). anthraquinone (animal neoplasms: Sax). benz(c)phenanthrene (animal cancer: Sax). benzene (human cancer: Sax). benzilbutylphthalate (No data).

benzo(a)anthracene (animal cancer: RTECS). benzo(a)pyrene (animal cancer and a mutagen: Sax). benzo(b)fluoranthene (animal cancer: Sax). benzo(b)fluorene (No data). benzo(b)phenanthrene (animal cancer: RTECS). benzo(c,d)pyrenone (No data). benzo(def)dibenzothiophene (No data). benzo(e)pyrene (animal cancer suspected: RTECS). benzo(ghi)fluouranthene (No data). benzo(ghi)perylene (animal cancer: Sax). benzo(k)fluoranthene (animal cancer: Sax). benzo(l)fluoranthene (No data). benzofluoranthene (No data). benzofuran (RTECS). benzotetrahydrofuran (No data). benzylbenzoate (toxicity moderate: Sax).

benzylchloride (toxicity high: Sax). biphenyl (animal cancer: Sax). butadiene (RTECS). 1,3-butadiyne (Sax). butane (toxicity moderate: Sax). 1-buten-3-yne (RTECS). 3-butene (No data). 1-butene (Sax). carbazole (Sax). carbon disulfide (Sax). cis-chlordane (RTECS). chlorinated terphenyls (No data). chloroacetophenone (toxicity high, and a military poison: Sax). p-chlorobenzylchloride (No data). chlorobiphenyl (animal cancer: Sax). chloronaphthalene (toxicity moderate: Sax).

chrysene (animal cancer: Sax). coronene (animal cancer: Sax). cresols (Sax). cumene (RTECS). cyclobutane (Sax). cyclohexane (toxicity moderate: Sax). cyclopentadiene (toxicity moderate: Sax). cyclopentane (toxicity moderate: Sax). cyclopentene (toxicity moderate: Sax). cyclopenteno(c,d)pyrene (No data). cyclopropane (toxicity moderate: Sax). p,p'-DDE (animal cancer: RTECS). o,p'-DDT (No data). decachlorobiphenyl (No data). dibenz(a,h)anthracene (animal cancer: Sax). dibenzo(a,e)pyrene (animal cancer: Sax).

dibenzofluoranthene (No data). dibenzoheptafulvene (No data). 1,1-dichloro-3-phenylpropane (No data). dichlorobenzene (RTECS). dichlorodibenzofuran (No data). dichlorophenol (RTECS). dicyclohexyladipate (No data). dieldrin (animal cancer: Sax). diethylisophthalate (No data). diethylterephthalate (No data). 1,1- difluoroethylene (Sax). difluoromethane (No data). diisobutylphthalate (animal birth defects: Sax). 9,10- dimethylanthracene (animal cancer: Sax). 7,12-dimethylbenzo(a)anthracene (animal cancer, birth defects: Sax).

dimethylcyclopentane (No data). dimethylcyclopentene (No data). dimethyldisulfide (Sax). dimethylindole (No data). 1,5-dimethylnaphthalene (No data). 2,3-dimethylnaphthalene (No data). 2,7-dimethylnaphthalene (No data). 1,6-dimethylnaphthalene (RTECS). dimethylpiperidene (No data). dimethylpyridene (No data). dimethyltetrahydrofuran (No data). dioctylphthalate (animal birth defects: Sax). diphenylacetylene (Sax). diphenylbiphenyl (No data). diphenylmethane (RTECS). divinylbenzene (Sax).

ethane (Sax). ethylbenzene (Sax). ethylcyclopentane (RTECS). 1-ethylcyclopentene (No data). 3- ethylcyclopentene (No data). ethylene (toxicity moderate: Sax). ethylnaphthalene (No data). ethyne (Sax). fluoranthene (RTECS). fluorene (No data). formaldehyde (animal cancer: Sax). henene (Sax). heptachlorocyclohexane (No data). heptachlorodibenzofuran (No data). heptane (toxicity moderate: Sax). hexachlorobenzene (animal birth defects: Sax).

hexachlorobiphenyl (No data). hexachlorobutadiene (toxicity high: Sax). hexachlorocyclohexane (toxicity high: Sax). hexachlorocyclopentadiene (toxicity high: Sax). hexachlorodibenzofuran (No data). hexachloroethane (toxicity high: Sax). hexachloronaphthalene (toxicity high: Sax). hexachloropropane (No data). hexafluoro-1-propene (No data). hexafluoroethane (No data). hexane (Sax). indene (toxicity moderate: Sax). indeno(1,2,3-cd)fluoranthene (No data). indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene (animal cancer: RTECS). indoline (RTECS). isobutane (Sax).

isodrin (toxicity high: Sax). isopentane (Sax). methane (Sax). methanol (Sax). 3-methyl-1-butene (No data). 3- methyl-2-butene (No data). 2-methyl-2-butene (toxicity moderate: Sax). methylanthracene (animal neoplasms: Sax). methylbenzoanthracene (No data). methylbenzophenanthrene (No data). methylchloride (Sax). methylchrysene (No data). methylcyclohexane (toxicity moderate: Sax). methylcyclohexene (RTECS). methylcyclopentane (RTECS). methylcyclopentene (No data).

methylenechloride (animal cancer: Sax). methylindole (No data). methylmercaptan (Sax). methylnaphthacene (No data). 1-methylnaphthalene (RTECS). 2-methylnaphthalene (RTECS). methylpentane (RTECS). methylphenanthrene (No data). methylpyrene (No data). methyltetrahydronaphthalene (No data). monochlorobenzene (toxicity moderate: Sax). monochlorodibenzofuran (No data). naphthalene (toxicity moderate: Sax). naphthonitrile (No data). nonodecane (No data). octachlorodibenzofuran (No data).

octachlorostyrene (No data). octane (Sax). pentachlorobenzene (animal birth defects: Sax). pentachlorobiphenyl (No data). pentachlorodibenzofuran (No data). pentachloroethane (toxicity high: Sax). pentachloropropane (No data). pentachloropropene (No data). pentadecane (No data). pentadiene (No data). pentane (RTECS). 2-penten-4-yne (No data). 2-pentene (No data). pentyne (No data). perfluoro-1-butene (No data). perfluoro-2-butene (Sax).

perylene (animal neoplasms and cancer: Sax). phenanthrene (toxicity moderate: Sax). phenol (animal cancer: Sax). phenylisocyanurate (No data). polychlorinated biphenyls (animal cancer: Sax). propane (Sax). propanol (animal cancer: Sax). propionaldehyde (toxicity moderate: Sax). propylcyclohexane (No data). propylene (Sax). pyrene (animal cancer: Sax). pyrenonitrile (No data). pyridine (RTECS). pyrrole (toxicity probably moderate: Sax). pyrrolidone (toxicity high: Sax). rubicene (No data).

styrene (Sax). tetracenonitrile (No data). tetrachlorobenzene (No data). tetrachlorobiphenyl (No data). tetrachlorodibenzofuran (No data). tetrachlorophenol (No data). tetrachloropropane (No data). tetradecane (). toluene (Sax). p-toluidine (animal cancer: Sax). tolunitrile (No data). trichlorobenzene (No data). trichlorodibenzofuran (No data). trichlorophenol (No data). tridecane (No data). trifluoromethane (Sax).

1,2,3-triphenylbenzene (No data). triphenylene (No data). triptycene (No data). vinylchloride (toxicity high, and human cancer: Sax). xanthone (No data). o,m,p-xylenes (Sax).

Descriptor terms: incineration; air pollution; acenaphthene; acenaphthylene; acetaldehyde; acetic acid; acetone; acetonitrile; acrylonitrile; aldrin; aniline; anthanthrene; anthracene; anthracenonitrile; anthraquinone; benz(c)phenanthrene; benzene; benzilbutylphthalate; benzo(a)anthracene; benzo(a)pyrene; benzo(b)fluoranthene; benzo(b)fluorene; benzo(b)phenanthrene; benzo(c,d)pyrenone; benzo(def)dibenzothiophene; benzo(e)pyrene; benzo(ghi)fluouranthene; benzo(ghi)perylene; benzo(k)fluoranthene; benzo(l)fluoranthene; benzofluoranthene; benzofuran; benzotetrahydrofuran; benzylbenzoate; benzylchloride; biphenyl; butadiene; 1,3-butadiyne; butane;

Descriptor terms: 1-buten-3-yne; 3-butene; 1-butene; carbazole; carbon disulfide; cis-chlordane; chlorinated terphenyls; chloroacetophenone; p-chlorobenzylchloride; chlorobiphenyl; chloronaphthalene; chrysene; coronene; cresols; cumene; cyclobutane; cyclohexane; cyclopentadiene; cyclopentane; cyclopentene; cyclopenteno(c,d)pyrene; cyclopropane; p,p'-DDE; o,p'-DDT; decachlorobiphenyl; dibenz(a,h)anthracene; dibenzo(a,e)pyrene; dibenzofluoranthene; dibenzoheptafulvene; 1,1-dichloro-3-phenylpropane; dichlorobenzene; dichlorodibenzofuran; dichlorophenol; dicyclohexyladipate; dieldrin; diethylisophthalate; diethylterephthalate; 1,1-difluoroethylene; difluoromethane; diisobutylphthalate; 9,10-dimethylanthracene; 7,12-dimethylbenzo(a)anthracene; dimethylcyclopentane; dimethylcyclopentene; dimethyldisulfide; dimethylindole; 1,5-dimethylnaphthalene; 2,3-dimethylnaphthalene; 2,7-dimethylnaphthalene; 1,6- dimethylnaphthalene; dimethylpiperidene;

Descriptor terms: dimethylpyridene; dimethyltetrahydrofuran; dioctylphthalate; diphenylacetylene; diphenylbiphenyl; diphenylmethane; divinylbenzene; ethane; ethylbenzene; ethylcyclopentane; 1- ethylcyclopentene; 3-ethylcyclopentene; ethylene; ethylnaphthalene; ethyne; fluoranthene; fluorene; formaldehyde; henene; heptachlorocyclohexane; heptachlorodibenzofuran; heptane; hexachlorobenzene; hexachlorobiphenyl; hexachlorobutadiene; hexachlorocyclohexane; hexachlorocyclopentadiene; hexachlorodibenzofuran; hexachloroethane; hexachloronaphthalene; hexachloropropane; hexafluoro-1- propene; hexafluoroethane; hexane; indene; indeno(1,2,3-cd)fluoranthene; indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene; indoline; isobutane; isodrin; isopentane; methane; methanol; 3-methyl-1-butene; 3-methyl-2-butene; 2-methyl-2- butene; methylanthracene; methylbenzoanthracene; methylbenzophenanthrene; methylchloride; methylchrysene; methylcyclohexane; methylcyclohexene; methylcyclopentane; methylcyclopentene; methylenechloride; methylindole; methylmercaptan;

Descriptor terms: methylnaphthacene; 1-methylnaphthalene; 2-methylnaphthalene; methylpentane; methylphenanthrene; methylpyrene; methyltetrahydronaphthalene; monochlorobenzene; monochlorodibenzofuran; naphthalene; naphthonitrile; nonodecane; octachlorodibenzofuran; octachlorostyrene; octane; pentachlorobenzene; pentachlorobiphenyl; pentachlorodibenzofuran; pentachloroethane; pentachloropropane; pentachloropropene; pentadecane; pentadiene; pentane; 2- penten-4-yne; 2-pentene; pentyne; perfluoro-1-butene; perfluoro-2-butene; perylene; phenanthrene; phenol; phenylisocyanurate; polychlorinated biphenyls; propane; propanol; propionaldehyde; propylcyclohexane; propylene; pyrene; pyrenonitrile; pyridine; pyrrole; pyrrolidone; rubicene; styrene; tetracenonitrile; tetrachlorobenzene; tetrachlorobiphenyl; tetrachlorodibenzofuran; tetrachlorophenol; tetrachloropropane; tetradecane; toluene; p-toluidine; tolunitrile; trichlorobenzene; trichlorodibenzofuran; trichlorophenol; tridecane; trifluoromethane; 1,2,3-triphenylbenzene; triphenylene; triptycene; vinylchloride; xanthone; o,m,p-xylenes; toxicity;

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