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Learn Not to Burn Reducing Backyard Burning of Household Waste.

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Presentation on theme: "Learn Not to Burn Reducing Backyard Burning of Household Waste."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learn Not to Burn Reducing Backyard Burning of Household Waste

2 2 What is Backyard Burning? Backyard burning (BYB) is the uncontrolled combustion of household waste in barrels, open pits, wood stoves, or fireplaces. (also known as burn barrels, open burning, or household trash burning)

3 3 Why are we Concerned? Some consider this an issue of the past. But in reality, this is often a common practice in less urban areas of the U.S.

4 4 Why are we Concerned? Backyard burning causes accidental fires. Backyard burning releases toxic chemicals into environment that can cause adverse health impacts. Backyard burning is illegal in many places.

5 Trash Fires in Illinois Source: Illinois State Fire Marshal, 2004

6 6 Release of Toxic Chemicals Particulate Matter Sulfur Dioxide Carbon Monoxide PAHs Metals Hexacholorobenzene Dioxin Direct Exposure (e.g. inhalation) Indirect Exposure (e.g. bioaccumulation)

7 7 Direct Exposure Health Effects Eye and lung irritant Asthma trigger Emphysema Other respiratory diseases Reproduction and development effects Endocrine Disruption Immunosuppression Cancer Indirect Exposure Health Effects

8 8 What are Dioxin-like Chemicals? A group of chlorinated organic compounds including dioxins, furans, and some PCBs. Produced when most materials are burned. Occur from incomplete combustion of fuels or waste, some chemical manufacturing, and high temperature metrological processes. Includes some natural sources (e.g. forest fires).

9 9 Dioxin-like Chemicals Dioxins are a group of chemicals that are “potent animal toxicants” and “likely human carcinogens.” There are 30 different Dioxin-like compounds. 2,3,7,8 TCDD is the most studied of the chemical class. USHHS and IARC classify 2,3,7,8 TCDD as a human carcinogen.

10 10 Why are Dioxins a Problem? Persist in the environment. Shown to be highly toxic in animal and human studies – even at extremely low levels. Impact reproduction & development, suppress the immune system, and can cause cancer. Bioaccumulative and remain in the body for a long period of time. Principal route of exposure is via food intake.

11 Draft Estimate: ~ 65 pg TEQ DFP -WHO 98 /day 21% 16% 19% 14% 5% 4% 7% 6% 1% Soil ingestion Soil dermal contact Freshwater fish and shellfish Marine fish and shellfish Inhalation Milk Dairy Eggs Beef Pork Poultry Other meats Vegetable fat Adult Average Daily Intake of CDDs/CDFs/Dioxin-like PCBs

12 12 Evolving Dioxin Science The Good News: The average bioaccumulation level in humans has dropped from 55 ppt (in the 1980’s) to 25 ppt (1990’s) The Bad News: The level at which health effects are detectable in animals and humans is lower than previously estimated. Consequently, current exposures remain a concern. The Bottom Line: We need to take steps to further reduce dioxin exposure.

13 13 Top U.S. Inventoried Dioxin Releases Source: An Inventory of Sources and Environmental Releases of Dioxin-Like Compounds in the United States for the Years 1987, 1995, and 2000, November 2006.

14 14 U.S. Inventoried Dioxin Releases in 2000 Source: An Inventory of Sources and Environmental Releases of Dioxin-Like Compounds in the United States for the Years 1987, 1995, and 2000, November 2006.

15 15 The BYB concern is not just about releases, but also exposure... Most BYB occurs in rural areas where emissions can readily contribute to contamination of animal feed and grazing lands.

16 16 Why is Backyard Burning a Priority? BYB is the largest remaining quantified source of dioxin emissions. BYB used by an estimated 20 million Americans. Proximity to animal feed and food crop production increases concern. Reducing BYB also reduces other toxic releases including metals, PAHs, and particulate matter. Reducing BYB will reduce accidental fires.

17 17 The GLRC is an Executive Order issued in May 2004 Priority setting exercise among Great Lakes stakeholders Reducing household trash burning was one of the first priorities initiated. The Learn Not to Burn Toolkit is a product of the GLRC.

18 18 Three Tiered Approach: Education, Infrastructure, and Compliance Educate government officials and the general public on the concerns of BYB. Provide information on infrastructure and alternatives to BYB in rural areas. Strengthen state, tribal, and local ordinances on BYB. Support greater compliance with existing regulations.

19 19 What Can the Public Do? Share the message Identify other waste disposal methods in your community –Reduce (avoid disposable items) –Reuse (more use means less waste) –Recycle (paper, plastics, metallic items) –Compost (leaves, yard waste, vegetable wastes) –Identify local landfills which accept waste

20 20 What Can Local Officials Do? Find an option for your community within our case studies Use the EPA toolkit for support and ideas Contact EPA or your state agency for assistance Spread the word – make sure your constituents know that burning trash is dangerous.

21 21 What’s Inside the Toolkit ? Introduction to the issue Powerpoint presentation Case studies of successful national, regional, and local burn barrel programs Current trash burning laws in the Great Lakes Region Example ordinances on reducing trash burning Available brochures and outreach materials The Western Lake Superior Sanitary District Toolkit Information on infrastructure and waste transfer stations Links to Additional Resources

22 22 Hubbard County Minnesota In 1994, the County banned open trash burning The ban has been received positively by citizens The County provided two waste transfer stations and 14 recycling sheds in the county The facilities are paid for by a special tax assessment Trash burning has been virtually eliminated Success is due, in part, to the fact that residents are not charged a tip fee at waste transfer stations and recycling centers, and also because the county refused to accept ashes from burn barrels.

23 23 St. Regis Mohawk Tribe New York From , the Tribe developed a solid waste management plan, planned a waste transfer facility, and began an outreach campaign on burn barrels. In 2002, banned burn barrels except with a permit and began trash pick up service for $2.00 per bag. Transfer station was built with funding from USHUD, USEPA, USDA, and IHS. Compliance with ban has been high, particularly since residents have become educated on the topic.

24 24 Air Defenders Interactive program for 5 th grade students and up Includes lecture, science experiments, video, songs, video game and more Provides background information for adults or parents Helps students understand how individual behavior impacts everyone’s environment

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28 28 Acknowledgments Members of the Burn Barrel Subgroup of the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy, in particular our State Agency partners and Gina Temple-Rhodes of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District Erin Newman, Air and Radiation Division, U.S. EPA Region 5 Jessica Winter, Environmental Careers Organization Intern, U.S. EPA Susan Boehme, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Elizabeth Hinchey Malloy, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Christine McConaghy, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Intern, U.S. EPA Ted Smith, U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office

29 29 Where Can You Get More Information? Information on the national program, links to local programs, and other resources may be found on line at:

30 30 Get a Toolkit and Reduce Burning in Your Area! For a copy of the Learn Not to Burn Toolkit on CD, please contact Erin Newman at or visit our booth at the conference this week.


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