Bolzano, Italy
Bolzano, Italy

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Ragazzi M.,University of Trento | Tirler W.,Eco Research | Angelucci G.,Waste Management Office | Zardi D.,University of Trento | Rada E.C.,University of Trento
Waste Management and Research | Year: 2013

This article presents the case study of a waste incinerator located in a region rich in natural and environmental resources, and close to the city of Bozen, where there are about 100,000 inhabitants. Local authorities paid special attention to the effect of the plant on human health and the surrounding environment. Indeed, among the measures adopted to control the emissions, in 2003 an automatic sampling system was installed specifically to monitor polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDD/F) emissions during the complete operation time of the plant. The continuous sampling system was coupled directly to aerosol spectrometers for the determination of fine and ultra-fine particles in the emissions of the plant. The measurement results suggest that the waste incineration plant of Bozen is not a significant source of PCDD/F, or fine and ultra-fine particles. Immission measurements from other monitoring systems confirmed these results. © The Author(s) 2013.

Until several years ago dioxins were considered as just an unwanted by product of anthropogenic activities and stigmatized as the symbol of man-made environmental pollution. Natural processes, such as forest fires, can emit dioxins, but compared to industrial processes, usually very low quantities are emitted. However after a case of food contamination occurred in the United States of America in 1996 caused by kaolinitic clay a discussion on the provenience started. Besides the relatively high concentration also an unusual PCDD/F distribution pattern was found in these ball clay samples. This specific pattern related to none of the known anthropogenic sources for these contaminants and, in relation to a supposed natural formation, later it was named "natural formation pattern". Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) can transform biomass within hours into a brown coal-like product which resembles naturally occurring coal formation. HTC can also transform an already present PCDD/F contamination in a way to obtain a "natural formation pattern" characterized by an unusual high ratio between 1,2,3,7,8,9-HxCDD and 1,2,3,6,7,8-HxCDD and the absence of almost all chlorinated dibenzofurans. By varying the experimental conditions of the HTC process applied to sewage sludge samples contaminated with PCDD/Fs from anthropogenic sources, beside the "natural formation pattern" at a temperatures of 255 °C, a remarkable increase of the toxicity based on WHO-TEQ was observed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Buonanno G.,University of Cassino and Southern Lazio | Scungio M.,University of Cassino and Southern Lazio | Stabile L.,University of Cassino and Southern Lazio | Tirler W.,Eco Research
Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association | Year: 2012

Incinerators are claimed to be responsible of particle and gaseous emissions: to this purpose Best Available Techniques (BAT) are used in the flue-gas treatment sections leading to pollutant emission lower than established threshold limit values. As regard particle emission, only a mass-based threshold limit is required by the regulatory authorities. However, in the last years the attention of medical experts moved from coarse and fine particles towards ultrafine particles (UFPs; diameter less than 0.1 μm), mainly emitted by combustion processes. According to toxicological and epidemiological studies, ultrafine particles could represent a risk for health and environment. Therefore, it is necessary to quantify particle emissions from incinerators also to perform an exposure assessment for the human populations living in their surrounding areas. A further topic to be stressed in the UFP emission from incinerators is the particle filtration efficiency as function of different flue-gas treatment sections. In fact, it could be somehow important to know which particle filtration method is able to assure high abatement efficiency also in terms of UFPs. To this purpose, in the present work experimental results in terms of ultrafine particle emissions from several incineration plants are reported. Experimental campaigns were carried out in the period 2007-2010 by measuring UFP number distributions and total concentrations at the stack of five plants through condensation particle counters and mobility particle sizer spectrometers. Average total particle number concentrations ranging from 0.4 × 103 to 6.0 × 103 particles cm-3 were measured at the stack of the analyzed plants. Further experimental campaigns were performed to characterize particle levels before the fabric filters in two of the analyzed plants in order to deepen their particle reduction effect; particle concentrations higher than 1 × 107 particles cm-3 were measured, leading to filtration efficiency greater than 99.99%. Implications: The main implication of the study is that the use of a fabric filter in the flue-gas treatment section of incinerators is able to guarantee very low concentrations at the stack in terms of UFPs. As regards the incineration plants, a further implication of the proposed study is that an a priori negative social response seems to be unjustified when referred to the ultrafine particle emissions. © 2012 Copyright 2012 A&WMA.

Tirler W.,Eco Research | Settimo G.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita
Annali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanita | Year: 2015

Introduction. The increased use of incense, magic candles and other flameless products often produces indoor pollutants that may represent a health risk for humans. Today, in fact, incense and air fresheners are used inside homes as well as in public places including stores, shopping malls and places of worship. As a source of indoor contamination, the impact of smoke, incense and sparklers on human health cannot be ignored. Aim. In the present work, we report the results of an emission study regarding particles (PM10 and particle number concentration, PNC) and benzene, produced by various incense sticks and sparklers. Results and discussion.The results obtained for benzene, PM10 and PNC, showed a strong negative influence on air quality when these products were used indoors. Various incense sticks gave completely different benzene results: from a small increase of the benzene concentration in the air, just slightly above the background levels of ambient air, to very high concentrations, of more than 200 μg/m3 of benzene in the test room after the incense sticks had been tested.

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