AP Environmental Science: Waste and toxicity


electronic waste, typically exported

municipal solid waste (MSW)

refuse collected by municipalities from households, small businesses, and institutions (schools, prisons, municipal buildings, and hospitals)

Industrial solid waste

from industry - mining, agriculture, industry


also known as waste minimization and waste prevention

source separation

users sort their recyclables from rest of trash, sorted materials are collected by community


allows a material to cycle within a system longer before becoming an output


process by which materials destined to become MSW are collected and converted into raw materials that are then used to produce new objects


use less of what is needed


Don't buy things you don't need


organic matter that has decomposed under controlled conditions to produce an organic-rich material that enhances soil structure, cation exchange capacity and fertility


the water that leaches through the solid waste and removes various chemical compounds with which it comes into contact

sanitary landfills

an engineered ground facility designed to hold MSW with as little contamination of the surrounding environment as possible


a cover of soil and clay covering the landfill when it reaches capacity

fee per bag

fee for the weight of the trash left on curbside


process of burning waste materials to reduce their volume and mass and sometimes to generate electricity or heat


residual nonorganic material that does not combust during incineration

bottom ash

residue collected underneath furnace

fly ash

residue collected beyond the furnace

waste to energy system

when heat generated by incineration is used rather than released to the atmosphere


the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), a 1980 US federal act that imposes a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries, funds the cleanup of abandoned and nonoperating hazardous waste sites, and authorizes the

NPL - national priority list

contaminated industrial or commercial sites that require environmental cleanup before they can be redeveloped or expanded

life-cycle analysis

an important system tool that looks at the materials used and released throughout the lifetime of a product - from the procurement of raw materials through their manufacture, use, and disposal

Integrated Waste Management

employs several waste reduction, management, and disposal strategies in order to reduce the environmental impact of MSW

acid deposition

acids deposited on Earth as rain and snow or as gases and particles that attach to the surfaces of plants, soil, and water

hazardous waste

waste material that is dangerous or potentially harmful to humans or ecosystems
1. toxic, 2. reactive, 3. corrosive, 4. flammable


US Resource Conservation & Recovery Act; protects human health and the natural environment by reducing or eliminating the generation of hazardous waste

Landfill location rules

-away from rivers or streams
-located in soil rich in clay
-far from populations

SO2, NOx

exhaust gases from combustion


Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act

cradle to grave

life cycle analysis- keeping track of hazardous wastes from creation to disposal


water that percolates through landfill and collects at the bottom, must be collected

methane production

waste breaks down in low oxygen conditions, explosive, must be collected and vented away

MRF - Material Recovery Facilities

users put all recyclables together, then machines sort what can be recycled and burn the rest

USA composition of municipal solid waste

-cardboard/paper: 37%
-yard waste: 12%
-food: 11%
-plastic: 11%
-metal: 8%

Pros/Cons of recycling

provides jobs, educates people of waste issues, less waste in landfills
sometimes more expensive than disposal, only 5% of plastics are recycled, can be inefficient,

ways to produce less hazardous waste

recycle or reuse materials (paints, batteries), use substitute materials (alcohol vs mercury thermometers), use clean energy sources, more regulations

ways to make hazardous waste less hazardous

bioremediation, phytoremediation, incineration


using living organisms to remove toxins and contaminants


using plants to remove toxins and contaminants

long-term disposal of hazardous waste

deep-well disposal, surface impoundments

deep-well disposal

liquid wastes pumped into porous rock deep beneath aquifers, only pump into geologically stable areas, wastes should be retrievable, potential for water pollution

Surface Impoundments

lined landfill for liquid wastes, potential for leakage if lining breaks

love canal

NY, before WWI a guy named love started building a canal, ran out of money and sold to Hooker Chemical Company, Hooker used it for chemical storage, hooker later covered it with dirt and vegetation, Hooker sold land to NY for $1, community was built aroun

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

a large collections of waste in the pacific ocean (waste came from land), about the size of Texas,


slow moving area in the ocean amoung faster moving currents, trash collects there and so do chemicals, 6 currently

Basel Convention Treaty

international treaty to reduce movement of hazardous waste from nation to nation, includes e-waste, doesn't include radioactive waste, USA did not agree to sign this

Environmental Justice

idea that people have a right to a clean environment, waste needs to be spread out amongst users not put in poorest or politically weakest areas, very rascist, "Cancer Alley

Photodegradation vs Biodegradation

plastic only degrades into little pieces thru photodegradation not bio


tiny bits of plastic


tiny plastic pellets that get melted down and made into other plastic

statistical risk

probability of suffering harm form a hazard

top 5 risks for USA people

1. living in poverty
2. being male
3. smoking
4. severely overweight
5. being single

top 5 risks for global people

1. living in poverty
2. smoking
3. flu/pneumonia
4. air pollution
5. HIV/AID's

categories of hazards

Physical, Biological, chemical, cultural

infectious vs noninfectious

disease can be spread form person to person vs disease that is not spread from person to person

top 5 deadliest diseases

1. Flu/Pneumonia
2. HIV/AID's
3. Diarrheal disease
4. Malaria
5. Tuberculosis

environmental factors with disease spread

-high population density
-frequent contact with farm animals
-consumption of bushmeat
-habitat loss/alteration
-climate change
-antibiotic resistance
-lack of sanitation
- natural disasters


wild animals

infectious agent

the organism that causes/creates the disease
-AKA pathogen
ex. bacteria, viruses, protists

Mode of transmission/vector

how the infectious agent is spreading

zoonotic disease

any disease transmitted via wild or domesticated animals

Emerging vs Reemerging disease

recently discovered (last 100 years) vs been around a long time and it decreased but now it's increasing again

Treatment vs prevention

deals with taking care of symptoms/ getting people back to normal health vs deals with stopping people from getting the disease at all


Infec. agent = virus
transmission = contact w/ respiratory droplets that have flu
Zoonotic = no
Symptoms = fever, chills, Respiratory Congestion, coughing
history: re-emerging (new strains every year)
prevent = cover your mouth when cough/sneeze, quaranti

Tuberculosis (TB)

Infec. agent = bacteria
transmission = contact w/ respiratory droplets that have TB bacteria
Zoonotic = no
Symptoms = Weight loss, blood in mucus, Respiratory Congestion, coughing
history: re-emerging, been around for hundreds of years - antibiotic resist


Infec. agent = Protist, plasmodium
transmission = bite from infected mosquito
Zoonotic = yes, mosquito
Symptoms = high fever, chills, Fatigue, Nausea
history: re-emerging (new strains every year), resistance to anti-malarial drugs, mosquitoes r becoming m


Infec. agent = bacteria
transmission = ingestion of water/food w/ feces (bacteria)
Zoonotic = no
Symptoms = Diarrhea, fever, Nausea, dehydration, vomiting, lethargy
history: re-emerging, antibiotic resistance is creating new strains
prevent = sanitary col

Dengue Fever

Infec. agent = virus
transmission = bite from infected mosquito
Zoonotic = yes, mosquito
Symptoms = high fever, chills, Fatigue, Nausea
history: emerging, mosquitoes r becoming more pesticide resistant
prevent = spray pesticides, wear long clothing, stay


Infec. agent = virus
transmission = contact w/ infected respiratory droplets
Zoonotic = no
Symptoms = fever, dry cough, muscle aches, respiratory distress
history: emerging, first seen in 2002
prevent = quarantine, wear face masks/cover mouth/nose, wash h


Infec. agent = virus
transmission = contact w/ body fluids (respiratory droplets, blood, sex fluids)
Zoonotic = no
Symptoms = high fever, internal bleeding, muscle pain, fatigue
history: emerging, first seen in Africa, 1970's
prevent = extreme sanitation,

West Nile fever

Infec. agent = virus
transmission = bite from infected mosquito
Zoonotic = yes, mosquito
Symptoms = high fever, swollen lymph nodes, Fatigue, rash
history: emerging
prevent = spray pesticides, wear long clothing, stay indoors in evening,
environ. factors

lyme disease

Infec. agent = bacteria
transmission = bite from infected tick
Zoonotic = yes
Symptoms = Joint pain, fever, Nausea, bullseye rash
history: emerging, first seen in 1970's in Lyme, Connecticut
prevent = spray pesticides, wear long clothing, stay indoors in


Infec. agent = virus
transmission = bite from infected mosquito, intimate contact with infected bodily fluids (sexual activity)
Zoonotic = yes, mosquito
Symptoms = mild fever, microcephaly in infants born with it, rash
history: emerging, discovered in 201


infectious agent of malaria


the study of adverse effects of chemicals on health

acute vs chronic toxicity

immediate/rapid harmful reaction vs permanent/long lasting effects

solubility of chemical

water soluble vs fat soluble; fat soluble chemicals stays in body longer


how easily the chemical breaks down over time


sow easily the chemical is stored in body tissues


how easily the chemical concentrates as it moves up the food chain


chemicals that reduce each other's harmful effects


chemicals that mix and multiply harmful effects


chemicals that cause mutations in DNA


chemical that cause birth defects in developing fetuses


chemicals that cause/promote cancer

Precautionary Principle

if there is reasonable evidence of harm (despite lack of significant testing) one should reduce/prevent use of chemical until proven safe - USA does not follow this

Factors that impact toxicity levels

-Dose of chemical
-Frequency of exposure
-age at exposure
-each individual body system


lethal dose to kill 50% of test pop./lethal concentration to kill 50% of test pop.

Dose-response curve

plot the various doses on the x-axis
plot the mortality or the groups on the y-axis

threshhold level/dose

the point where the dose/concentration goes above zero or control group level


anything that kills pests

broad-spectrum pesticides

pesticides toxic to a wide array of species

narrow-spectrum pesticides

pesticides toxic to a narrow array of species

Organochlorines/Chlorinated hydrocarbons

broad spectrum, highly persistent, water insoluble, many have been banned due to persistence


broad spectrum, less persistent (degrade more quickly), severe toxicity to human nervous system


chemically similar to nicotine compounds, strong neurotoxicity to insects, water soluble (easy for plants to absorb), plants keep them active and turns out they r pretty bad

pros and cons of pesticides

can help save lives, improve public health, increase food supplies, increase farm profits, fast acting, easy to use, non toxic (if used properly), new types are safer
cons:pests develop resistance, farmers have to pay more each year for stronger pes

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

suppresses pest pop. below the economic injury level
goals: reduce pesticide use, help control pests

biological/chemical/physical IPM options

help natural enemies, help predatory species/habitat manipulation, creating barriers/spot treat only infected areas, use of pheromones


used in WWII to control malaria, broad spectrum,
3 negative effects: vomiting, seizures, cancers,
a book was written, still produced in India, China, North Korea

Rachel Carson

wrote a book DDT

Silent spring

a book about DDT

4 factors causing pollinator declines

lack of flowers, pesticides, monoculture, mites/diseases

Bhopal, India

1984, world's worst industrial accident, Union Carbide (pesticide company), leak of over 30 tons of MIC gas (toxic cyanide gas), explosion, toxic cloud floated into town, caused immediate deaths, acute toxicity, and chronic health issues, about 15,000 dea

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP's)

toxic chemicals that do not breakdown and have the potential for bioaccumulation/biomagnification

Dirty Dozen

initial list of the 12 worst POP's

Stockholm Convention/Treaty

defined POP's, defined Dirty Dozen, required the ban or restriction of worst POP's

Endocrine Disruptors

chemicals that block, disrupt, or mimic hormone action in the body, tend to mimic estrogen

Endocrine system organs, functions

Pituitary fland, testes/ovaries, thyroid gland, pancreas, adrenal glands

sources of endocrine disruptors

plastics, cosmetics, health/beauty products, mercury, BPA, Phthalates, DDT, Triclosan, Atrazine, PCB's,

possible effects of endocrine disruptors

reduced fertility/sterility, abnormal growth/function of reproductive organs, increases in reproductive cancers, early puberty, reduced number of males, feminizing effects

Mercury (Hg)

sources: batteries, burning coal for energy, compact flourescent lightbulbs, Electronics/electrical equipment, thermometers, thermostats
health effects: birth defects, kidney damage, nervous system/neurological damage, minamata disease

Elemental vs Inorganic vs methylmercury

simple Hg, not bonded to anything vs non-carbon based mercury compound vs CH3-Hg, most common form of organic mercury

Minamata Disease

mercury poisoning

Fish consumption rule

small walleye: 1 meal a month
larger walleye: do not eat
bass: 1 meal a week
swordfish: do not eat


sources: batteries, ceramic glazes, leaded gasoline, paint, pesticides, smelting
health effects: birth defects, kidney damage, nervous system/neurological damage, sterility/lower fertility


sources: electronics, electrical equipment, flame retardant chemicals, hydraulic systems, lubricants, pesticides, plasticizers, transformers,
health effects: birth defects, cancer, endocrine disruption, liver damage, nervous system damage, reproductive sy

Dioxins and furans

sources: burning coal for energy, chlorine bleaching for paper pulp, incomplete combustion of carbon-based, organic materials, swelting, waste incineration
health effects: birth defects, cancer, hormone imbalance, reproductive system damage, impaired immu


sources: cosmetics and personal care, plastic additives for flexibility, PVC tubing and piping,
health effects: hormone imbalance, reproductive system damage, sterility/lower fertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption,

Bisphenol A (BPA)

sources: linings of steel food cans, plastic additives for strength/rigidity, plastic water bottles
health effects: endocrine disruption, hormone imbalances, reproductive system damage, sterility/lower fertility