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Pollution Effects

  • Date Submitted: 10/21/2013 05:36 AM
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Pollution Facts | Types of Pollution
Katharine Gammon, LiveScience Contributor   |   August 27, 2012 04:47pm ET

Pollution is the introduction of a contaminant into a natural environment, usually by humans. While most people think of pollution as chemical waste dumped into rivers, or factories spewing toxins into the air, it can also include light pollution or sound pollution.
The health effects of pollution affect more than 100 million people worldwide — more widespread than global pandemics such as AIDS. In some of the world’s worst polluted places, babies are born with birth defects, children have lost 30 to 40 IQ points, and life expectancy may be as low as 45 years because of cancers and other diseases. Read on to find out more about specific types of pollution.
Land pollution: Land can become polluted by household garbage and by industrial waste. In 2010, Americans produced about 250 million tons of garbage consisting of product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, paint and batteries. That's about 4.3 pounds of waste per person per day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A little over half of the waste — 54 percent — is gathered in landfills. About 34 percent is recycled or composted, and 12 percent is burned at combustion facilities.

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Commercial or industrial waste is a significant portion of solid waste. Much of it is classified as non-hazardous, such as construction material (wood, concrete, bricks, glass, etc.) and medical waste (bandages, surgical gloves, surgical instruments, discarded needles, etc.). Hazardous waste is any liquid, solid or sludge waste that contain properties that are dangerous of potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Industries generate hazardous waste from mining, petroleum refining, pesticide manufacturing and other chemical production....


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