Vallero, Daniel A. National Exposure Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
Last reviewed:September 2019
Show previous versions
- Hazardous waste, published March 2018:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Hazardous waste, published June 2014:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Groundwater contamination
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Any solid, liquid, or gaseous waste materials that, if improperly managed or disposed of, may pose substantial hazards to human health or the environment. Hazardous waste generally has been considered a subset of solid waste and has been distinguished from municipal wastes and nonhazardous industrial wastes (Fig. 1). This characterization is not based on science and engineering but on the regulatory history of hazardous wastes. For example, in the United States, control of hazardous wastes falls under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) enacted by Congress in 1976, which is distinct from earlier statutes for the control of air and water pollution and solid wastes. The RCRA’s primary goals are to protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal, to conserve energy and natural resources, to reduce the amount of waste generated, and to ensure that wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner. The RCRA regulations are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at Title 40, Parts 260 through 280. In fact, RCRA is an amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1956. The 1984 amendments to RCRA are known as the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA). Subtitle C (hazardous waste) and Subtitle D (solid, primarily nonhazardous, waste) provide the structure for comprehensive waste management programs. In addition, RCRA regulates underground storage tanks under Subtitle I and medical waste under Subtitle J. Many other countries have similar programs to control hazardous wastes. Of the 13 billion tons of industrial, agricultural, commercial, and household wastes generated annually in the United States, 2% (more than 279 million tons) are hazardous as defined by RCRA regulations.
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 45 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information