What is the nature of pulp mill HAPs? Hazardous air emissions from kraft pulp mills (the kind of pulp mill on the Samoa Peninsula) are generally classed under the following categories:particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen and sulfur oxides, metals, and reduced sulfur compounds (TRS). The impact of these various substances on human health is an extremely complex matter, depending in part on amounts emitted, length of exposure, and susceptibility of impacted individuals. While a mill may release only relatively small amounts of some substances, day in and day out exposure, over long periods of time, such "trace" amounts may have serious consequences. Other pulp mill HAP releases are measured in tons. Further complicating this situation is the phenomenon of "chemical mixture"; the fact that specific chemical emissions may combine with elements and compounds in the environment, with often not easily predictable chemical consequences.
What links have been established between the above mentioned HAPs and specific illnesses? Certain metals and VOCs, some emitted by pulp mills, have been linked to cancer. Oxides in the air have been linked to birth defects. Particulates are linked to difficulty breathing, decreased lung function, asthma, chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature death in people with heart and lung disease. Reduced sulfur gases, which account for the typical "foul odors" associated with pulp mills, are neurotoxins. Exposure at high concentrations can result in immediate death. Typical lower levels of exposure is linked to a spectrum of symptoms as varied as respiratory tract irritation, eye injury, fatigue, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, and depression. Research has shown that long term exposure to low concentrations of reduced sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide can lead to an abnormal growth of brain cells and impaired neurobehavioral functioning.
Living near a pulp mill may be harmful to your health.
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"Exposure to numerous substances designated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as known, probable and possible carcinogens may occur in pulp and paper operations." Quoted from: EOHS; Kjell Toren and Kay Teschhe, :"Cancer", p. 72.15
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Total Reduced Sulfur (TRS)
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