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HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TECHNICIAN - Case Study: Dioxin

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Case Study: Dioxin

Dioxin is a hazardous chemical that won't go away. It's produced when municipal wastes, especially plastics, are burned. The EPA lists dioxin in the top 10 percent of substances dangerous to human health. It results in higher rates of cancer, damage to the liver and nervous system, and birth defects.

Carelessly dumped by an industrial waste firm, dioxin was responsible for two disasters in the 1980s, one in Times Beach, Missouri, and the other at Love Canal, New York. Residents were alerted to the danger when high levels of cancers and other diseases appeared in their neighborhoods. The town of Times Beach was completely closed down and no longer exists. Houses were destroyed and the soil dug up, removed, and buried elsewhere.

To prevent such disasters from happening again, the EPA and other agencies monitor the air quality around landfills and incineration sites. When dioxin or other hazardous chemicals are detected, these agencies take steps to end the pollution immediately.

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