Does Asphalt Plant Pollution effect us?
An asphalt plant is used for mixing gravels, sand with used crude oil in order to make asphalt. The asphalt made is used for paving highways, parking areas and roads. The asphalt plant releases a lot of chemicals in the air during their productive years. We must take appropriate steps to tackle Asphalt Plant Pollution.
The pollutants emit a lot of toxins most of which cause cancer. They include cadmium, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde. There are more chemicals that are also released in the air when asphalt is being loaded into the trucks and also when being transported out of the site, organic compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other very fine condensed particles are also produced. This problem is not only limited to Asphalt Plants, but is also created by manufacturers of concrete batching plants worldwide.
The following are ways in which asphalt plants pollute environment.
- Production of asphalt fumes and in other words toxins
Asphalt processing and roofing manufacturing is the major causes of harmful air pollutants which include hexane, phenol, formaldehyde, polycyclic, organic matter, and toluene. Being exposed to these pollutants usually leads to various problems which ranges from minor to major health problems. Minor problems includes headache, dizziness, nausea, wheezing or shortage of breathing and coughing major problems includes problem of the nervous system, cancer, damage of the, skin irritation and respiratory complications, birth defects and poor immunity among others.
- Causes loss of property value and health impact
The residents living near the asphalt plant are affected by environments degrading and they report negative impact on property value. They report the deterioration of their health which commenced after the erection of the asphalt plant in their area.
- Lack of testing of the plat for toxic emissions
Apart from smoke track emissions, the conveyor belts releases fugitive emissions as it moves around in truck during moving of asphalt to the stockpiles. The local weather patterns and the area stagnant air increase the level of exposure to the local communities. This usually occurs if the asphalt plants are not undertaken test for toxic emissions.
As a matter of precaution in order to save the environment and the community against the asphalt air pollution, there is need to be safe and take the following precautionary actions:
- Heed to the early warning signs: the health experts and federal state regulators have evidence regarding the emission from the asphalt plant which affects the health of the residents. They insists to the need of heeding to the warning signs and act immediately to as to save the communities from possible exposure to the toxins that cause cancer that are releases by the asphalt plants. They insist on taking the following actions:
- a) Strict testing at the asphalt plants and enforcement of air quality
- b) Adopting the air standards which are improved and addresses to all toxic contaminants that includes fugitive emissions
- c) Suspension of asphalt plant construction in residential areas
- Placing safety first: Whether the asphalt plat meets all the standards of federal air pollution, those people who live nearby still get exposed to the substances that cause cancer. The standards bases on ‘acceptable risk’ principle that assumes the states enforcements standards whereby the owners can be trusted to operate and are expected to follow laws and regulations applying to the government oversight. All these plants that fail to protect the community from the health hazards should be shut down as a safety measure.
- Democracy should be exercised: The regulations that are based on acceptable risks as well as self regulating are not adequate in protection of public health. Most states usually rely on those standards that fail to consider local factors regarding the closeness of the asphalt plant to the residential areas, the local weather pattern, the effects of acids and the nauseating smell on the quality of the life’s in the community.
In an effort to improve the federal and state standards, some organizations are working hard to include asphalt plant fumes to the hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The communities can then be protected by the state laws which are aimed at protecting the local values which determines the location of new industrial facilities, and also ensure that no new plant is erected in their neighborhood or renewal of a plant before being evaluated by the public health.