On the contrary, the following article describes the true risk.There’s no need to be alarmed though because the containment and ground safety of landfills in the US is extremely good and they basically pose no environmental risk. When they are capped they become a great environment for all sorts of plants and wildlife.
I never said that there aren’t pollutants. The containment of such is incredibly good these days though. Most methane is burnt off and the linings almost all of the time prevent ground water contamination. There is the chance for the liner to get a tear but there are multiple layers so the possibility of contamination is low. There is the issue of smell but like I stated most of the methane is burnt off. Rendering plants are far worse for air quality as far as smell than a landfill and I can attest to that because I live near both.On the contrary, the following article describes the true risk.
The by-products of the solid waste deposited in the landfills adversely affect the surrounding environment and humans living closer to the landfills. A hypothesis is that the deposition of waste in landfills impacts the surrounding environment and the residents living closer to it. The hypothesis was tested by evaluating the respondents' perception drawn from the people living close to (100–500 meters) and further (1–2 kilometers) from the landfill site concerning environmental issues, health problems, and life satisfaction. 78% of participants living closer to the landfill site indicated severe air quality contamination, evident from foul odors linked to the landfill site. In addition, participants (living closer to the landfill than those living further away) frequently reported illnesses such as flu, eye irritation, and body weakness. More than half of the participants (56%) living closer to the landfill indicated fear of their health in the future. Thus, the participants living closer to the landfill site were less satisfied with the location of their community concerning the landfill than those living further from the landfill site.
Therefore, an LFG (landfill gas) utilization system, proper daily covering of waste, and odor diluting agents are necessary for the residents living closer to the landfill site. The degradation process of the deposited waste in the landfills generates an enormous amount of CH4 (methane) and CO2 (carbon dioxide), a significant contributor to the world's anthropogenic GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. The landfill operation is usually associated with the contamination of surface and groundwater by leachate (a liquid that has dissolved environmentally harmful substances from the landfill mostly when the landfill lacks good liners), pungent odor, loud, disturbing noise from the landfill bulldozers, bioaerosol emissions (particles released from terrestrial ecosystems into the atmosphere), and volatile organic compounds. The storage of leachate in open lagoons can influence the levels of odors experienced in the landfill site. Residents living close to the landfills have shown concern due to several hazardous pollutants emanating from the landfill operations. Some other pollutants associated with the deposition of waste in the landfills include litter, dust, excess rodents, unexpected landfill fires, et cetera. The factors that influence the by-product or emissions from landfills include the kind and quantity of waste deposited, the age of the landfill, and the climatic conditions of the landfills. Complex chemical and microbiological reactions (caused by microorganisms) within the landfill often lead to the formation of several gaseous pollutants, persistent organic pollutants (such as dioxins—persistent organic pollutants—and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—different chemicals that form during the incomplete burning of garbage), heavy metals, and particulate matter. The continuous inhalation of CH4 (methane) by humans can cause loss of coordination, nausea, and vomiting, with high concentration resulting in death. Acidic gases like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and halides (a binary compound) have harmful effects on the health and environment when introduced. When nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide are inhaled or ingested by humans, symptoms such as nose and throat irritations, bronchoconstriction (a condition in which the smooth muscles of the pathway that moves air to and from your lungs constricts), dysproca (wheezing and shortness of breath) and respiratory infections are prevalent, especially in asthmatic patients. These effects can trigger asthma attacks in asthmatic patients. In addition, humans' high contact with NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) increases the susceptibility to respiratory infections.
Furthermore, when the acidic gases reach the atmosphere, they tend to acidify the moisture in the atmosphere and fall as acid rain. Phadi and others identified that sulfur dioxide has harmful effects on plant growth and productivity. In addition, humans are at the risk of reduced lung function, asthma, ataxia (a lack of coordination of voluntary movements), paralysis, vomiting, emphysema, and lung cancer when heavy metals are inhaled or ingested. Furthermore, heavy metal pollution causes illnesses like high blood pressure and anemia. Additionally, when in contact in high proportions, heavy metals affect the nervous system, which causes neurotoxicity (alteration of the regular activity of the nervous system), leading to neuropathies (problems within the peripheral nervous system) with symptoms like memory disturbances, sleep disorders, anger, fatigue, head tremors, blurred vision, and slurred speech. It can also cause kidney damage like initial tubular dysfunction (a loss of tubular transporters critical for normal tubular function), risk of stone formation, and renal cancer. Exposing humans to a high amount of lead can cause injury to the dopamine system, glutamate system, and the NMDA (a glutamate and ion channel protein receptor).
The landfills generate different toxic trace elements, including carbon monoxide, H2S (hydrogen sulfide, a colorless and highly flammable gas), xylene (an aromatic hydrocarbon), dioxin (persistent organic pollutants), et cetera. Toxins include organic micropollutants (anthropogenic chemicals that occur in the environment well above a natural background level), PCDDs (polychlorinated dibenzo-para-dioxins), PCDFs (polychlorinated dibenzofurans—a mancude organic heterotricyclic parent that consists of a furan ring flanked by two benzene rings), dioxins, and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Dioxin forms from chlorine-containing substances in the landfill and the landfill fire, being harmful to human health. When ingested by humans, dioxin increases the mortality rate caused by ischemic heart disease. PAHs have potential carcinogenic properties when in contact with humans, leading to a tumor of the lungs, skin cancer, and deficiencies in other parts of the body. In addition, when humans inhale particulate matter, studies have shown that it leads to lining inflammation, systemic inflammatory changes, and blood coagulation which can further obstruct blood vessels, angina, and myocardial infarction. In a Turkish landfill, the health risk assessment of BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene) emissions on landfill workers in the area showed that BTEX did not pose a health threat to the landfill workers. It was because the mean concentration of BTEX measured in the landfill was not sufficient and was lower than the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA's) generally acceptable excess upper-bound lifetime cancer risk of one in 10,000. However, the author noted that landfill effects on humans directly depended on the type of pollutants and the duration of exposure. For example, H2S has an odor of rotten eggs, contributing immensely to the odor emissions experienced from landfills. In addition, the high sulfate-containing compounds (like gypsum and plasterboard) combined with the degradable waste in the landfill site cause H2S. Exposing humans to high levels of H2S leads to the malfunction of the central nervous system and respiratory paralysis.
Waste management activities cause biological hazards. The decomposition of waste materials in the landfill, vehicle exhaust fumes, and favorable weather conditions lead to bioaerosols and biological agents such as fungi, bacteria, and volatile compounds (like endotoxins, β(1-3)-glucans and mycotoxins). Exposure to bioaerosols causes various respiratory health diseases, which can provoke inflammation of the airways. Several studies have shown that the occupational risk of waste handlers and landfill workers is high compared to others. Cancer and other respiratory allergies exist in communities living closer to landfills. Endotoxins are the most potent proinflammatory component present in bioaerosols, which are components on the cell wall of Gram-negative bacteria. Heldal and others showed that exposure to low concentrations of endotoxins in waste collectors and compost workers could cause an inflammatory response in the upper airways through neutrophil activation and the release of cytokines such as IL6 and IL8, and TNF-alpha. In addition, Gladding and others showed that workers exposed to higher amounts of endotoxin and (1→3) -β-D-glucan had an increased risk for respiratory diseases compared to others with lesser exposure. Most studies focused on biological risk association with waste and landfill workers because of their proximity to the biological agents over time. Therefore, this can be an indication of the possible health risk of people living closer to landfills.
People living closer to landfills suffer from medical conditions such as asthma, cuts, diarrhea, stomach pain, reoccurring flu, cholera (an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine), malaria, cough, skin irritation, diarrhea, and tuberculosis more than the people living further away from the landfills. The causes of the health problems are continuous exposure to chemicals, inhalation of toxic fumes, and dust from the landfills. Additionally, the residential proximity to environmental hazards and adverse health outcomes showed a significant correlation between residential proximity to environmental hazards and adverse health outcomes, especially risks for central nervous system defects, congenital heart defects, oral defects, low birth weight, cancer, leukemia, asthma, chronic respiratory symptoms, et cetera. The author noted that although residents living closer to the landfill appear to be more prone to adverse effects of health outcomes, the proximity does not equate to the individuals' level of exposure. The health hazard is dependent on the residential exposure level to the pollutants and the concentration of the pollutants. Landfill proximity to residents will also have significant effects on property value in the area. Despite the proliferation of the harmful effects in recent years, in many landfills situated in rural and peri-urban centers, not much research on health and environmental impacts on the residents living closer to landfills has been conducted. However, Bridges and others conducted a study comparing the adverse effects of incinerators and landfill emissions on health. The study did not consider the environmental and economic risk and impact associated with landfill pollutants. Several relevant questions have not been addressed, including (a) are there significant social-economic differences between the residents living closer to the landfill and residents living far from the landfill? (b) Do the residents living closer to the landfill find its characteristics very disturbing compared to those living far from it? (c) Do the residents living closer to the landfill suffer from specific illnesses more than those living far from the landfill? (d) What is the perception of community life satisfaction between residents living closer to the landfill site and residents living far away from it? The aim is to investigate and provide answers to the above questions. The health and environmental impacts of landfills on humans generated mixed reactions, which are complex. The health and environmental effects of the landfills on the residents living closer to the landfill, integrating different factors like waste disposal, air, and dust pollution, location of the landfill, water and noise pollution, fear of future health, property value, mosquitoes, and rodent's pollution, life in general in the community, et cetera. The residents living closer to the landfills are at higher health and environmental risks when compared to those living far away from the landfills. However, the landfill-associated problems have helped the community living closer to the landfill to be more conscious and educated on environmental pollution. The health risk associated with landfill pollutants shows that proper landfill management is essential. Locate the landfills further away from residential houses and institutions to avoid specific health and environmental-related risks.