Author(s): Dportes I, BenoitGuyod JL, Zmirou D
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Abstract This review presents the current state of knowledge on the relationship between the environment and the use of municipal waste compost in terms of health risk assessment. The hazards stem from chemical and microbiological agents whose nature and magnitude depend heavily on the degree of sorting and on the composting methods. Three main routes of exposure can be determined and are quantified in the literature: (i) The ingestion of soil/compost mixtures by children, mostly in cases of pica, can be a threat because of the amount of lead, chromium, cadmium, PCDD/F and fecal streptococci that can be absorbed. (ii) Though concern about contamination through the food chain is weak when compost is used in agriculture, some authors anticipate accumulation of pollutants after several years of disposal, which might lead to future hazards. (iii) Exposure is also associated with atmospheric dispersion of compost organic dust that convey microorganisms and toxicants. Data on hazard posed by organic dust from municipal composts to the farmer or the private user is scarce. To date, microorganisms are only measured at composting plants, thus raising the issue of extrapolation to environmental situations. Lung damage and allergies may occur because of organic dust, Gram negative bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi. Further research is needed on the risk related to inhalation of chemical compounds.
This article was published in Sci Total Environ
and referenced in Journal of Fundamentals of Renewable Energy and Applications