Friday, May 1, 2015

How to dispose of hazardous waste Los Angeles California

It is pretty easy to assume that all the toxic waste dumped into our environment comes at the hands of big, faceless businesses -- most of it does. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, 1.6 million tons of hazardous waste originates from American households each year.
Dangerous chemicals lurk in old cans of paint or forgotten pharmaceuticals stuffed in the medicine cabinet. Batteries and outdated cell phones are replaced and pitched in the kitchen garbage, only to wind up leaking toxic mercury and lead in a landfill.
But knowing how to properly discard these household items can often be a mystery. If they can't go in a garbage can, where do these chemically potent waste oddities go?

The acid inside batteries turns corrosive and dangerous when burned or pitched in a landfill. About 3 billion batteries are purchased and then discarded each year, so the city's recycling programs have made it easy to dispose of them. Most Walgreens in the Chicago area accept batteries at their photo counters. Chicago public libraries and many alderman offices (found online at also have bins for disposing of old batteries.
If you've ever moved or remodeled a home, you probably have stacks of paint cans in your garage or basement. If you want to get rid of those half-filled cans -- or find free paint -- many city programs, such as Chicago's Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility, have a paint exchange. They will take paint off your hands (no latex) or give you paint that others have turned in (this sentence as published has been corrected in this text).
Tons of electronic items, such as cell phones, computers, TVs, PDAs and MP3 players, are thrown away each year. Not only do these items contain hazardous materials, but in many cases they still have shelf life. After you replace your old PC or cell phone with a sleek, new model, consider donating your old one. Numerous charities and organizations will gladly take your used electronics. Chicago Computers for Schools ( takes donations at its center, 3053 N. Knox Ave., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Chicago-based Recycle Tech Solutions (RTS; or 773-821-9700) will buy old cell phones and donate the money to the charity of your choice. Any electronic device can also be taken to a center accepting household hazardous waste (HHW).
Ink cartridges
Many Walgreens, Cartridge Worlds and Staples will refill ink cartridges for you. If you want to dispose of a cartridge, go to Recycle Tech Solutions, which sells them to a company that will repurpose them.
Expired or unneeded medications, traces of which have wound their way into our drinking water, perhaps are the hardest thing to dispose of properly. Federal law dictates that a police officer must be present when a pharmacy takes back medication, so most pharmacies do not have take-back programs. However, five police stations around the city have drop-off bins; for more information and locations, call 312-744-7672 or see the City of Chicago recycling Web site:
Fluorescent light bulbs
All fluorescent lights contain enough mercury to be hazardous. If one burns out, take it to an Ace Hardware or Home Depot. As long as the bulb is intact, the mercury is contained.
This term applies to anything containing corrosive, toxic, ignitable or reactive ingredients such as paint, cleaners or pesticides.
A few facilities in the area accept HHW year-round. In the city, the Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility at 1150 N. Branch St. is open 7 a.m. to noon Tuesdays; 2 to 7 p.m. Thursdays; and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. the first Saturday of every month. The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County ( or 847-336-9340) also has a recycling center at 1311 N. Estes Ave. in Gurnee that takes drop-offs on the second Saturday of every month. In Naperville, Fire Station No. 4, 1971 Brookdale Rd., will also accept HHW on the weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chicago will host HHW neighborhood collections April 18 in the parking lot of U.S. Cellular Field and May 9 in the North Side DeVry parking lot at 3300 N. Campbell Ave.

Jury awards woman $13M for exposure to asbestos in talcum, Asbestos Removal, Los Angeles CA

A Los Angeles jury awarded $13 million to a 73-year-old woman who contracted a deadly disease from using asbestos-containing talcum powder manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive Co.
Jurors deliberated for two hours Tuesday before finding that New York-based Colgate was 95 percent responsible for Judith Winkel's mesothelioma, a fatal lung disease, according to her lawyers. The verdict included $1.4 million in damages for her husband.
Winkel's lawyers said she got the rare cancer from using Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder.
"This is an example of the legal system exposing what a company should have been honest about 50 years ago," attorney Chris Panatier said. "Judith Winkel only wanted a jury to hear the truth about this product and hopefully to help others who are similarly exposed."
While billions of dollars have been paid in verdicts and settlements to people sickened by exposure to asbestos, it's often in cases related to use of the mineral in construction materials or insulation. Tiny fibers of the carcinogen can be breathed in and lodge in the lungs, leading to fatal illnesses such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The Food and Drug Administration conducted a study more than five years ago that found no asbestos in cosmetics it tested containing talcum powder. However, the agency said there's been concern about asbestos contamination in talc since the 1970s. Some studies have shown a possible association between use of talc powders and ovarian cancer but have not conclusively linked the two, the agency said.
Jurors found the company negligent for the design, manufacture or sale of the product and found that it presented a substantial danger that they failed to warn consumers about.
Colgate, which sold Cashmere Bouquet in 1995, said it was disappointed with the verdict.
"We believe that the facts and evidence presented at trial showed that Cashmere Bouquet ... played no part in causing the plaintiff's illness," the company said in a statement.
Panatier said it was the first verdict against Colgate-Palmolive involving asbestos exposure from talcum powder.
An appeals court in New Jersey recently affirmed a $1.6 million verdict awarded to a man with mesothelioma who said he got the disease from cosmetic talc.
In Winkel's case, there will be no appeal. She and Colgate reached a confidential settlement Wednesday before the jury was set to hear evidence to determine punitive damages.

Cleanup to start at defunct Hungarian chemical plant after Greenpeace warns of toxic risks

The Associated Press
This is a handout image made available by Greenpeace dated on April 7, 2015, of corroded and leaking barrels are seen being stored on the yard of the Budapest Chemical Works in Budapest, Hungary. Greenpeace says that leaking, rusted barrels full of toxic materials stored in the open at a defunct chemicals company in Hungary could cause an environmental catastrophe. The government says it will take months before the chemicals are removed and the area can be cleaned up. (Gergely Simon/Greenpeace via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT NO ARCHIVE

By PABLO GORONDI, Associated Press
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Some 1,000 barrels of toxic waste will be removed quickly from a defunct chemical company plant in Budapest, a Hungarian official said Thursday after Greenpeace described conditions at the site as "near catastrophic."
Reversing earlier official comments that it would take months before any cleanup could begin, Richard Tarnai, commissioner of the Pest County office, said immediate action was needed because of the deteriorating condition of the hazardous material.
He said the rest of the estimated 2,800 tons of hazardous waste would also be taken away within months from the Budapest Chemical Works site not far from downtown.
Gergely Simon, a Greenpeace chemicals expert, said toxic materials like benzene at the site were seeping into the ground water up to 60 meters (200 feet) deep at concentrations up to 100,000 times the allowed limit. He said the condition of the barrels had deteriorated greatly in the last few years.
Zsolt V. Nemeth, state secretary for environmental protection and agricultural development, had estimated that cleansing the contaminated soil and water would take years and cost up to 10 billion forints ($36 million).
The chemicals company was privatized a few years after the 1990 end of communism and has been under liquidation since 2007.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles