From a joint project of Tellus
Institute and JSI Center for Environmental Health Studies-Supported
by the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust
Chapter 3: Estimating
Community Health Risks, pp.37-43
Contents of the Waste
- How will heavy metals
be separated from waste to be incinerated? What happens to household
hazardous wastes, such as paints and batteries?
- What mechanisms are
proposed to limit dioxin-forming materials in the waste stream?
Evaluating a Risk Assessment
- Is a risk assessment
weighing the risks to the community available?
- Is an independent consultant
to the community available to evaluate and help interpret the
- Does the risk assessment
give adequate consideration to these factors:
- a. all appropriate
health outcomes of concern
- b. concentration of
toxins through the food chain
- c. effects of synergism
(exposure to multiple toxins)
- d. increased sensitivity
of susceptible populations such as children, elders, and those
with health problems
- e. risks to workers
and their families
- f. risks of transporting
materials to and from the facility
- g. risks of ash handling
and disposal and treatment of process water
- h. upset conditions
when the plant isn't operating optimally
- i. variations in the
- Have the risks of alternatives
to the proposed incineration facility been evaluated in depth?
Did the analysis of alternatives consider source reduction, recycling,
composting, and landfills?
- What are the meteorological
characteristics of the site?
- a. Which areas lie
- b. Is the site in a
valley subject to air inversions?
- Is the site close to
sensitive agricultural or environmental areas?
- Are residences, schools,
hospitals, and/or senior citizen centers directly exposed?
- What additional background
exposures does the community face? Are there other sources of
contaminants in the environment present?
- Have issues of environmental
equity been addressed? Will the incinerator add risks to a low
income or minority community that is already burdened with environmental
risk from other facilities?
Community Health Status
- What is the background
health status of the community?
- a. Are cancer incidence
- b. Has the level of
lead in children been measured?
- c. Are the rates of
low birthweight unusually high?
- Do residents have access
to adequate health care?
Pollution Control Devices
- Are state of the art
pollution control devices in place or proposed?
- Will controls be updated
as technologies advance?
- How can the community
participate in decisions on future requirements?
- What is the plan for
protecting the community in case of emergency?
- Is worker training
- How will the community
participate in emergency plans?
- How will the community
be kept informed of both routine and unplanned releases from