Hazardous Waste Definitions

Hazardous Waste, defined by the E.P.A.; any waste that exhibits any of the following characteristics, ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.

Universal Waste: Regularly generated by several sectors of society, rather than a single industry or type of business. Universal Wastes contain harmful chemicals, which if put in the trash may harm people or the environment.

Types: Batteries, Fluorescent tubes, bulbs, electronic devices, non-empty aerosols, etc.

PH Scale:
Is the measure of the acidity, or basicity of a solution. The Higher the number than 7; neutral, the more basic it is (alkaline). Any number lower than 7, more acidic. Water is neutral.

Groundwater Pollution: any pollutant that when it reaches an aquifer, makes it unsuitable for a particular purpose. This can be man made, or natural such as mineral and metallic deposits. Both state and federal regulations help prevent pollution, and regulate remediation practices.

Common Chemical Definitions/Issues:

Asbestos: Silicate mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals.  Very toxic when inhaled, causes serious illness including lung cancer.  Used by many manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century due to its resistance to heat, chemical damage, and high tensile strength.  Many building materials contained asbestos.

Carcinogenic: Any substance that is an agent directly involved in the promotion of cancer or in the increase of its propagation. Common examples are asbestos, formaldehyde, and tobacco smoke.

Hydrogen Sulfide: Colorless, toxic, flammable gas. Often results from the break down of sulfates in organic matter (Anaerobic digestion). Often why swamps and sewers smell so bad. Toxic!

Sodium Hydroxide: Also known as lye or caustic soda. Used in manufacturing industries producing, pulp, paper, textiles, drinking water, soap, detergents and drain cleaners. Forms a strong alkaline when dissolved in water, only the hydroxide ion is basic. Very commonly used as a chemical base in laboratories.

Sulfides: Can be very alkaline (found in strongly alkaline aqueous solutions). When combined with Hydrogen (Hydrogen Sulfide), ph can be much lower. Mineral

Surfactants: Chemical that stabilizes mixtures of oil and water, i.e. keeps them from separating. Often used in cosmetics, detergents, and conditioning agents. Non-hazardous waste.

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