The Effects of Materials Recycling Facilities on Health

The Effects of Materials Recycling Facilities on Health

Materials Recycling Facilities or MRF's have been used in the UK, in Europe and in other parts of the globe for quite some time now. Also known as Materials Recovery Facilities or Materials Recycling Factories, these allow for segregation of construction, household and commercial waste.


Focusing on MRF Health Issues

According to Gladding's "Health Risks of Materials Recycling Facilities" (a portion of the compilation of the book entitled Environmental and Health Impact of Solid Waste Management Activities by Harrison and Hester), MRFs bring workers closer to hazardous materials due to the hand sorting activities involved in the process. These hazards include not only the physical aspect of materials hand sorting but also the potential for accidents such as having cuts, bruises and wounds during the process. There is also a biological health issue linked to MRFs in that there can be airborne microorganisms and contaminated sharp edges that may be involved during waste segregation.

Where did all these health issues come from?

First, there are chemical hazards that can be acquired from a variety of household chemicals such as wood preservatives, garden chemicals, cleaning materials and paints. Heavy metals are also included in the list, considering the fact that they may contain cadmium and mercury. Volatile organic compounds or VOCs as well as organic sulfur compounds are also included. These ones may even contribute to irritation, nausea and even intestinal problems.

Second, there are biological hazards that can be acquired from the collection to the segregation of waste materials. While collecting wastes to be processed by MRFs, organic dust is present. This is where fungi and airborne bacteria come in. This may then result to allergy and infection especially to workers.

Solving MRF Health Issues

The best way to solve all these health issues linked to the use of MRFs is to know more about how the entire process works. In this regard, referring to the following resources will be of great help.

1. Springfield Materials Recycling Facility

2. Waste Collection, Disposal, Recycling and Recovery

3. Greenwich Council

4. Advanced Recycling Solutions – Material Recycling Facility

5. The Allington Quarry Waste Management Facility

This Article is written by John C Arkin, contributor of PrintCountry Articles.



This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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