Outdoor Burning of Household Garbage to be Banned
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO -- Today, the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (ARB) accepted a proposal to ban the outdoor burning of household garbage at home by January 1, 2004.
"This measure will reduce one of the largest known uncontrolled sources of dioxin, the most carcinogenic air pollutant known to the state," said ARB Chairman Dr. Alan Lloyd. "We are especially concerned with the chemical's effect on infants and children. Damage to their developing immune systems can lower their defenses against other diseases."
Today's garbage is full of complex chemicals. They reside in plastics, laminates, metals, dyes, and bleached and colored papers. When burned these chemicals create and throw into the air poisons that can linger up to 15 years in our environment. This ban will also reduce emissions of benzene, 1,3-butadiene, PAHs, PCBs and particulate matter statewide. The burning of vegetation will still be allowed under this ban.
The U.S. EPA has determined that burning waste products at home is one of the largest uncontrolled sources of dioxins in the United States. Currently state officials estimate that 108,000 California households burn some or all of their waste. Presently in the 35 air districts in California, six allow all forms of burning, 21 permit limited household garbage burning and eight prohibit any burning other than natural vegetation. The ban will affect most of these households, although some exemptions are included for very rural areas with low population densities. In these low density areas, paper and cardboard will be exempted from the ban, with a provision to allow the exemption to be reviewed at a later date. For more information, click here.
"Residential waste burning, a vestige of rural California, is a means of disposing the accumulation of daily life. But, while burning our garbage may have been part of historic California, ARB has found that due to the chemical makeup of today's consumer products we can no longer burn indiscriminately," Dr. Lloyd said.