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Region 1: EPA New England

What Are the Health Effects?

Air pollutants emitted from municipal waste combustors, medical waste incinerators, hazardous waste incinerators, boilers, and industrial furnaces can cause adverse health effects in the general public and in the environment. For instance, dioxin, lead, and, mercury are toxins that can bioaccumulate in the environment. Lead and mercury affect the central nervous system. Long term exposure can impair brain function and development. Dioxin/furans are chlorinated organic compounds which can result in a number of cancer and noncancer health effects in humans. Acid gases contribute to the acid rain that damages lakes and harms forests and buildings. Additionally, nitrogen oxide emissions are associated with a number of adverse health and environmental effects, including ground level ozone, acid rain, fine particulate matter, and regional haze.

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