What is it about?

Not all the plastic waste can be recycled. Mixed municipal plastic waste is accumulated in landfills or sent to thermal treatment (incineration, gasification, pyrolysis) to produce fuels and/or energy. This paper shows how to perform a complete Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) study for the catalytic pyrolysis of mixed plastic. This kind of studies are now requested by EU, USA and many other countries before any new plant installation. The proposed methodology takes into account the uncertainties and the highly variable operating conditions, typical of pilot-plants.

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Why is it important?

Dioxins, PCBs and VOCs are the main hazardous chemicals emitted by gaseous streams from thermal treatment of waste plastics. By our methodology the Human Health Risk is computed by considering both the continuous operation and many repeated start-ups of the plant; moreover the uncertainty related to different operating cycles, corresponding to the tests usually carried out at pilot-scale, is considered. The methodology illustrates how to analyse all the possible routes in evaluating the Exposure.


I hope this article can push politicians, managers, technicians and researchers to always seek a balance solution between industrial /technological development and the related environmental and health impact.

Ombretta Paladino
University of Genoa

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Human Health Risk Assessment of a pilot-plant for catalytic pyrolysis of mixed waste plastics for fuel production, Journal of Hazardous Materials, March 2021, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124222.
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