RESEARCH PAPER
Health risks due to exposure to biological agents during removal of organic waste. A survey of gaps in knowledge
 
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BKH Consulting Engineers, Delft, The Netherlands
 
Ann Agric Environ Med 1997;4(1):39–43
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ABSTRACT:
Following questions in the Netherlands Parliament, BKH Consulting Engineers was commissioned to make an inventory of the information available on health risks due to biological agents during the removal and composting of organic waste. A literature study was performed and experts in the field were interviewed. Four risk groups were distinguished: households, waste collectors, workers at transfer and transport companies, and workers at composting facilities. No information was found on exposure or health effects in households. Though no risks are to be expected, it is recommended to perform an explorative study to confirm the low risk level. It is concluded that exposure of waste collectors may be high, and health risks may exist. It is recommended to study this group further, comparing different techniques of waste collection. Data on workers at composting facilities indicate high exposure to biological agents, and possible exposure related effects. It is recommended to study this group further by comparing different composting techniques. No information was found on exposure and health effects in workers at transfer and transport companies. It is recommended not to study this group separately, but to extrapolate data from the information available for waste collectors and workers at composting facilities.
eISSN:1898-2263
ISSN:1232-1966