|Cement based Covers: Big Risks, Little Benefit|
While it’s true some cement based competitive products offer qualities that are suitable for daily coverage, what none of them offer is a truly "green" product.
The problem isn’t with the cement itself – it’s with the materials being mixed into it.
What many landfill operators overlook is the source of solids (also known as clinker) for their cement covers. In most cases, Cement Kiln Dust (CKD), a waste bi-product from the manufacture of cement, represents a large portion of the volume for cementaceous ADC products
Until just a short while ago, regulators regarded kiln dust as inert - not capable of leaching contaminants into its surroundings. Unfortunately, they were quite wrong.
ToxinsThese findings should make you stop and wonder how safe these cement-based products really are.
Small concentrations of toxins can also be found in the various raw materials and fuel needed in making the cement. These tend to reach higher concentrations through the production process, especially in the kiln dust, but concentrations vary from plant to plant depending on what is used to supplement the fuel - making it difficult in being sure you are getting consistent chemistry
While high pH readings have been the key short-term concern for health officials concerning the leachate, the presence of toxic metals in the seepage - particularly mercury - makes cement based products an even greater environmental and financial risk.
Exposure to high levels of mercury causes permanent damage to a person’s brain, kidneys and, in pregnant women – their developing fetus.
Cement based covers can also expose your workers to dangerous airborne materials - both when mixing the product and after the product has dried (it tends to crack and dust when moving equipment on top of it).
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If you are using a cement based ADC, did you know that proper precautions MUST be taken when handling these materials?
Exposure to wet or dry CKD on moist areas of the body can cause serious and potentially irreversible tissue damage (skin, eye, respiratory tract) due to chemical burns, including third degree burns.
Likewise, inhalation of high levels of kiln dust can cause chocking and chemical burns to the nose, throat and lungs depending on the degree of exposure.
Chronic inhalation of CKD can cause Silicosis due to repeated exposure to the crystalline silica.
Prolonged exposure of kiln dust could increase the risks for cancer. Cement Kiln dust may not be listed as a direct carcinogen by IARC or NTP, but the crystalline silica and hexavalent chromium found in many samples of kiln dust are classified by the IARC and NTP as known human carcinogens.
Extra Precautions Needed With Cement
Appropriate personal protective equipment should ALWAYS be utilized when handling CKD, as well as observing proper safety protocols:
In contrast, every one of New Waste Concepts environmentally focused products, including our entire line of covers, are derived from natural polymers and materials that positively will not effect your TCLP testing, nor adversely effect the ecology or your employee’s health.
Considering all this – shouldn’t you be making the switch to NWC covers today?
Give us a call… and find out for yourself how our covers will solve even your most demanding landfill needs.