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TitleOccupational and environmental health issues of solid waste management : special emphasis on middle- and lower-income countries
Publication TypeLiterature Review
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsCointreau, S
Secondary TitleUrban papers / World Bank
Paginationvii, 48 p. : 14 boxes, 5 tab.
Date Published2006-07-01
PublisherWorld Bank
Place PublishedWashington, DC, USA
Keywordsdiseases, environmental health, hazardous wastes, health hazards, occupational health, sdihyg, solid wastes, urban areas

This literature survey treats causes of diseases, injuries, and accidents from solid waste management technologies. Illnesses discussed include infectious diseases, allergies, respiratory damage, and cancers. Some diseases derive from direct ingestion of infectious micro-organisms, others involve infection through contamination of the food chain, whereby animals or other vectors have ingested infectious micro-organisms. Injuries include joint and spinal damage, fractures, puncture wounds, damage to eyes and ears. Accidents include slides from unstable disposal piles, cave-ins of disposal site surfaces, fires, explosions, being caught in processing equipment, and being run over by mobile equipment. The solid waste management technologies discussed include collection, recycling, processing, and disposal technologies.

Literature from developing countries is presented, supplemented by personal contacts and fieldwork in over 40 countries. Much of that literature is unpublished and considered anecdotal, as it was acquired directly from health practitioners in the field. It describes the seriousness of health problems confronted by solid waste workers and waste pickers, particularly in many middle- and lower-income countries.

All of the health issues reported from high-income countries are directly applicable to developing countries, but risk levels can be multiplied in the latter because protective measures are seldom implemented in poorer countries. Where available, older data is also provided for the high-income countries. Historical health data from high-income countries is often more applicable to developing countries than recent data, because risk reduction, protective measures and pollution control systems now expected in higher-income countries were largely implemented only in the past 20 years.


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