Conclusions

The health risks associated with MRFs are slowly being elucidated, and they need

47 L. Allermann and O. M. Poulsen, Inflammatory Potential of Dust from Waste Handling Facilities Measured as IL-8 Secretion from Lung Epithelial Cells In Vitro, Ann. Occup. Hvg., 2000, 44 (4), 259-269.

48 P.T.J. Scheepers and R. P. Bos, Combustion of Diesel Fuel from a Toxicological Perspective, II Toxicity, Int. Arch. Occup. Environ Health, 1992, 64, 163-177.

49 W. Dong, J. Lewtas and M. I. Luster, Role of Endotoxin in Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha Expression from Alveolar Macrophages Treated with Urban Air Particles, Exp. Lung Res., 1996, 22, 577-592.

50 H.M. Yang, M. W. Barger, V. Castranova, J.K. Ma, J.J. Yang and J. Y. Ma, Effects of Diesel Exhaust Particles (DEP), Carbon Black, and Silica on Macrophage Responses to Lipopolysaccharide: Evidence of DEP Suppression of Macrophage Activity, J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, 1999,58,261-278.

further evaluation. The Danish Working Environment Service has banned handsorting of mixed domestic waste.27 The Danish have recognised that there are health problems associated with collection and recycling of household waste. Undoubtedly these are exacerbated by the behaviour and personal hygiene of operatives, and working environment guidelines were initiated to mitigate these circumstances.27 Other types of waste sorted manually must be kept free of moisture and contamination with household waste. Similar approaches should be considered in the UK.

It becoming apparent that handsorting of recycled materials carries with it health issues which must be addressed. The difficulty arises as income from a MRF will never equal that from a landfill or incinerator. Many of the materials collected are low value. Conversely, initial investment in a MRF, which could be as low as several thousand pounds, will be significantly less than for other waste management options (requiring investment running into the millions). For this reason alone MRFs may become an even more popular waste management option in attempting to comply with the requirements of the EU landfill directive. This means a dramatic increase in the number of workers handsorting waste materials. In view of the research thus far, the health risks to these workers and possible mitigation factors should be an important consideration when planning this strategy.

0 0

Post a comment