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An eco-logical way to dispose of waste.

Environmental Health Perspectives
Environmental Health Perspectives
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Innovations An ECO-LOGICa Way toDispose cf Waste Managing toxic waste is one of the country's biggest 5A industrial and environmen- tal headaches, but technolo- gy is right around the corner that may make the process safer, cleaner, and eventually cheaper than incineration. Eco-Logic International, / Inc., based in Michigan and / Canada, has developed a process that can completely destroy organochlorines and organic matter, including compounds such as PCBs, dioxins, furans, and chlorinated pesticides. The company's patented gas-phase The "Desi thermochemical process uses a cides, and reduction reaction of hydrogen with organic and chlorinated organic com- pounds at elevated temperatures. Hazardous contaminants are transformed into excess hydrogen, methane, and a small amount of water vapor. The gases produced in the reaction either recirculate into the process or provide supplementary fuel for the system. And because it is a closed-loop system, no contaminants escape. Currently, incineration is the method of choice to dispose of municipal, medical, and haz- ardous waste, but evidence indi- cates that this technology is flawed and may create more problems than most communi- ties are equipped to handle. Under high-temperature com- bustion, organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, and often chlorine are oxidized. Other substances potentially incinerated include sulfur, arsenic, and metals such as chromium, mercury, and lead. Both the toxic emissions pro- duced during the burning On the ro process (sometimes from acci- sions and tructor." Organic compounds such as PCBs, dioxins, fur, J solvents are destroyed by this process. dents) and toxic ash left over after combus- tion are often more hazardous than the orig- inal materials. These emissions consist of products of incomplete combustion, escap- ing heavy metals, and new combinations of materials as a result of the burning process. The fly ash-the particulate matter emis- sions which may include dioxins and =~~~~~~~ Dad again. A

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