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

 

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

Theatre: The F Word: Sex Without The 'ism'

Sex without the 'ism' Okay, so the sexes are equal in the eyes of the law. What the F happens now? More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Don’t Eat The Fish

On 'The Catch' by Michael Field What the ecologically edible lists don’t appear to take into account – and they should – is slavery... It’s not an easy read, but it’s definitely near the top of my listicle of “5 Political Books You Must Read This Year”. More>>

ALSO:

Caracals: Small Cats With Big Ears Arrive At Wellington Zoo

Visitors to Wellington Zoo will be able to see New Zealand’s first Caracals in the Zoo’s new Grassland Cats habitat, with a special visitor opening day on Saturday 27 September. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Classics - Tales From Moominvalley
Can’t speak for the reading end of it but the Moomins ( or maybe the story about Margaret Wise Brown) were the most enjoyable subject to think about and write about during these whole first 50 issues of Werewolf. For that reason – and because the Moomins always reward re-reading – I’ve decided to reprint it. The only added element is a link to an interesting hour long documentary about Tove Jansson. More>>

ALSO:

Repping In The Pacific: All Blacks And Manu Samoa To Play Historic Apia Test

The All Blacks will play Manu Samoa in Apia on Wednesday 8 July next year as part of both teams’ preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news