"The dumps of the Roman empire, more than 2,000 years old, are still leaching heavy metals today."—Blue Egg, an e-media company that promotes sustainable living.
Blue Egg, "Landfills: Waste Is a Terrible Thing to Mind." www.blueegg.com/article/Land fills-Waste-Is-a-Terrible-Thing-to-Mind.html.
Other common industrial chemicals in municipal garbage include numerous agricultural pesticides, as well as industrial solvents. Two solvents—trichloroethylene, a human-made chlorinated solvent widely used in industry to remove grease from metal parts and textiles, and perchloroethylene, a chemical mainly used as a dry-cleaning agent—are of great concern because they are considered to be carcinogenic (cancer causing) to humans. Adding to this
toxic soup may be dangerous heavy metals such as lead from old paint, mercury from alkaline batteries, or cadmium contained in e-waste such as old cell phones and computer monitors. These heavy metals are extremely poisonous to animals and humans.
As these toxins are released into surrounding air, groundwa-ter, and soils, they can pollute the environment and potentially
harm human health. In fact, various studies have shown that there are health risks for people who live near landfills, including increased rates of certain types of cancer. For example, a 1989 study by the EPA that examined 593 waste sites in 339 U.S. counties found elevated cancers of the bladder, lung, stomach, and rectum in counties with the highest concentration of waste sites. In addition, a study published in 1998 by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reported a greater risk of birth defects in babies born to mothers who live close to landfills—specifically an elevated risk of neural-tube defects (spina bifida and anencephaly), malformations of the cardiac septa (a hole in the heart), and malformations of the arteries and veins. Another study by the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany, published in 2006, found that people living near a landfill may develop reduced immune function that can lead to an increased risk of infections. The study found, for example, that children living near
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