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Trash Management and Environment Health

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Some wastes are hazardous not only because they contain harmful substances but because they may contain pathogenic microorganism. Wastes containing pathogenic microorganisms are referred to as infectious wastes. Infectious wastes are particularly dangerous since the pathogens can gain access inside the body using various routes. Health care waste can transmit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through improperly disposed contaminated syringe and needles. Improperly disposed sharps can also becomes sources of pathogen as the pathogens can temporarily harbor in sharps. When someone is injured by sharps it can potentially cause diseases. Another types of hazardous waste associated with health care is the genotoxic waste. They can be extremely irritating and harmful effects can be felt immediately after direct contact with skin or eyes. Antineoplastics such as alkylating agents can be considered cytotoxic at any point in the cell cycle (World Health Organization, 2008).
Another hazardous waste are the chemicals and radioactive substances. Case studies in various states from 2001 to 2005, revealed the negative effects of improper disposal of hazardous wastes. In August 2001 in Wisconsin, an improperly disposed hydrochloric acid caused chemical burns to the sanitation truck driver. More than that, the residential area was also exposed to the chemical since 1 gallon of the hazardous substance was released. Similar incident took place in New York in June 2004. In June 2002 in Washington, an illegitimate methampetamine laboratory disposed of a hydrochloric acid in an apartment building dumpster. A sanitation worker who got exposed to the hazardous substance sustained a respiratory irritation when they dumped the hydrochloric acid back into the truck. In March 2003 in Colorado, an unknown quantity of a radioactive waste was disposed of by a hospital employee in a dumpster. When it was later picked up by a garbage truck, the contents activated radiation detectors at the landfill. No one was injured in the incident but restrictions were placed in the landfill until the radioactive waste was removed (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2005).
Nitrate is another chemical which should be avoided however the worse part is that it can still get access to homes via drinking water. Although we are constantly exposed to nitrates because it is usually present in foods and our body requires a certain amount of nitrate. Aside from food however, nitrates are main components of most fertilizers hence there is a huge possibility that it may come in contact with the ground water should leakage of the chemical occurs. Since we may be exposed to this chemical through our drinking water, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has set an allowable limit of nitrates in the drinking water for it to be rendered safe for public consumption. When nitrate level is higher than 10 mg/L it can pose a serious health threat particularly to infants, pregnant and nursing mothers. The reason why excessive amount of nitrate should be avoided is that it has the ability to interfere with blood’s function as supplier of oxygen to vital tissues in the body. This is especially harmful to infants as it can cause a blue baby syndrome. Gastric and bladder cancer are also risks that can be developed by