sufficiently high radiation dose may also affect genetic material. Handling highly active sources, such as those
used in diagnostic instruments (e.g. gallium sealed sources) may cause much more severe injuries, including tissue
destruction, necessitating the amputation of body parts. Extreme cases can be fatal.
The hazards of low-activity radioactive waste may arise from contamination of external surfaces of containers or
improper mode or duration of waste storage. Health-care workers, and waste-handling and cleaning personnel
exposed to radioactivity are most at risk.
ds from health-care waste-treatment methods
In addition to the specific hazards posed by different types of health-care waste, there are occupational hazards
associated with waste-treatment processes. Some are similar to those common in industries using machinery:
Flue gases from waste incinerators may have an impact on people living and working close to a treatment
site. The health risk is most serious where an incinerator is improperly operated or poorly maintained. If
poorly controlled, emissions from waste incinerators may cause health concern from particulates (associated
with increased cardiovascular and respiratory mortality and morbidity); volatile metals, such as mercury
and cadmium (associated with damage to the immune system, neurological system, lungs and kidneys); and
dioxins, furans and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (which are known carcinogens but may also cause other
serious health effects) (Fritsky, Kumm & Wilken, 2001; Levendis et al., 2001; Matsui,
Kashima & Kawano
Brent & Rogers, 2002; Lee et al., 2002; Rushton, 2003; Lee, Ellenbecker & Moure-Eraso, 2004; Segura-Muñoz
et al., 2004).