The bad effects of industrial waste

Written by sam lupica
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The bad effects of industrial waste
Industrial waste is potentially toxic to humans and wildlife. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Manufacturing facilities lead to an increased amount of industrial waste in waterways and landfills. Often, the waste products of manufacturing leach into the environment through the land water and air and adversely affect the health of humans and wildlife. Exposure to industrial waste is linked to increased morbidity and mortality.

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Industrial Waste and the Incidence of Cancer

Several studies have correlated the exposure to industrial waste to the incidence of cancer. A study published in the January 2011 issue of the Italian journal, "Tumori," reviewed cases of lung cancer in the male population of Prato, Italy, located close to a sewage treatment facility. The authors used the average distance from the facility as a parameter for comparison. The study found that men living within a 1.5km radius of the plant had a significant increase in lung cancers rates.

Endocrine-Disrupting Compounds

Endocrine-disrupting compounds, or EDCs, are pollutants that can mimic the functions of endogenous hormones or block their intended effects. A study appearing in the March 2011 issue of "Reproduction, Fertility and Development" investigated the effects of EDCs on human health. The researchers stated that compounds, such as dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides and heavy metals, have been previously identified as EDCs that are components of industrial waste. The study found that these compounds cause reproductive problems in humans, such as reduced sperm counts, miscarriages, impaired fertility and endometriosis, in which uterine cells migrate to other parts of the pelvis and continue to grow in much the same way as cancer cells.

Effluent from Industrial Landfills

A May 2011 article in Environmental Research investigated the toxicity of water leaching from an industrial landfill. The researchers tested the effects of the effluent on hepatoma, or liver cancer, cells. The study found toxic effects of the effluent from the landfill on the hepatoma cells and cautioned that their results showed a potential health risk to freshwater fish and mammals. The authors concluded that the effluent generated from industrial landfills inhibited cell growth at low doses and was highly toxic at high doses.

Industrial Air Pollution

Emissions from industrial facilities into the air also pose a threat to human and animal health. A study published in the "Journal of Environmental Science -- China" investigated the concentrations of pollutants released from petrochemical, ceramic and metal smelting plants in the needles of pine trees. The study found that pine needles collected near industrial plants had much higher levels of heavy metals and polycyclic hydrocarbons. The authors concluded that high concentrations of contaminants in pine needles were indicative of air pollution in these industrial sites.

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