Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Burning of demolition waste poses health risks

Burning of demolition waste poses health risks

June 12, 2014

A University of Canterbury environmental chemist has appealed to building contractors and homeowners to stop burning building materials rather than disposing of them safely.

The burning of building materials is a dangerous practice that can make people sick. Building materials from demolishing or renovating earthquake-damaged houses must not be burnt as materials can release a range of toxic substances including lead and arsenic, Dr Sally Gaw says.

“Lead is a neurotoxin and young children are particularly at risk if timber painted with lead-based paint is burnt. Houses built in New Zealand before 1980 would have been painted with lead-based paints.

“Inhaling arsenic can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and increases the chance of lung cancer developing. A mixture containing copper, chromium and arsenic (CCA) is used to treat timber that is likely to be exposed to moisture or placed in the ground.

“CCA treated timber is used for decks, fences and external structures while other treatments such as boron or light organic solvents may be used for house framing and cladding. Increased air concentrations of arsenic have been measured in New Zealand towns and cities over winter indicating that people are burning treated timber despite the activity being a significant health hazard.

“The burning of treated and painted timber and other demolition waste including plastics is illegal under the regional rules for air quality and people can be prosecuted. This includes both outdoor burning and domestic wood burners.

“The burning of plastics and especially plastic-coated wire can produce dioxins. The burning of plastic coated wiring has been banned in New Zealand under the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality introduced in 2004.

“The toxic substances released by burning building waste are inhaled by people working or living nearby exposing them to significant health hazards. Ash from burning waste building materials will be contaminated and must not be disposed of in gardens as it will contaminate the soil. Children and pets could be poisoned if they were to eat ash left over from burning building materials as toxic substances can be concentrated in ash.

“People who need to dispose of building waste should consider the health and safety of people living and working around them. Given the scale of the rebuild and the number of houses being repaired in Christchurch it is important that building materials are disposed of safely to prevent communities from being unnecessarily exposed to airborne toxic substances.

“The types of building materials that must not be burnt include plastics, PVC weatherboards and pipes, Formica, particle board and treated, painted or coated timbers,” Dr Gaw says.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Sheep: Shearing Record Smashed In Hawke’s Bay

Three shearers gathered from around New Zealand have smashed a World record by 264 sheep despite the heat, the pumiced sheep of inland Hawke’s Bay and a year’s wool weighing an average of over 3.5kg a sheep. More>>

ALSO:

Carrie Fisher: Hollywood In-Breeding & The Velocity Of Being - Binoy Kampmark

There was always going to be a good deal of thick drama around Carrie Fisher, by her own confession, a product of Hollywood in-breeding. Her parents, Debbie Reynolds and the crooner Eddie Fisher, provided ample material for the gossip columns in a marriage breakup after Eddie sped away with Elizabeth Taylor. More>>

  • Image: Tracey Nearmy / EPA
  • Gordon Campbell: On The Best Albums Of 2016

    OK, I’m not even going to try and rationalise this surrender to a ‘best of’ listicle. Still…maybe there is an argument for making some semblance of narrative order out of a year that brought us Trump, Brexit and the deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Alan Vega, who I missed just as much as the Big Three. So without further ado….oh, but first a word from the sponsor More>>

    Emojis: World’s First Māori Emoji App Launched

    It’s here - the world’s first Māori emoji app Emotiki has landed just in time for summer roadtrips and santa stockings, with 200 Māori and Kiwi cultural icons for people to share their kiwiana moments with each other and the world. More>>

    ALSO:

    Howard Davis: Album Of The Year - Van Morrison's 'Keep Me Singing'

    2016 was a grand year for Van The Man - The Belfast Cowboy turned 71, received a knighthood, and reissued an expanded set of soul-fired live recordings from 1973 ('It's Too Late to Stop Now'). In the game for 53 years now, Morrison's albums consistently open new windows into the heart and soul of one of the most enigmatic figures in modern music. More>>

    Review: The NZSO Performs Handel's Messiah

    Max Rashbrooke: Saturday night's performance took the piece back to something like the way it would have originally been performed when premiered in 1742, with an orchestra of 20-30 players and only a few more singers. More>>

    Culture: Rare Hundertwasser Conservation Posters Found After 40 Years

    When Jan and Arnold Heine put a roll of conservation posters into storage in 1974 they had no idea that 42 years later they would be collectors items. More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Education
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news