A toxic waste is waste material that can cause death, injury or birth defects to living creatures. It spreads quite easily and can contaminate lakes, rivers, and the atmosphere. The term is often used interchangeably with “hazardous waste”, or discarded material that can pose a long-term risk to health or environment.
Hazardous wastes are poisonous byproducts of manufacturing, farming, city septic systems, construction, automotive garages, laboratories, hospitals and other industries. The waste may be liquid, solid, or sludge and contain chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, dangerous pathogens, or other toxins. Even households generate hazardous waste from items such as batteries, used computer equipment, and leftover paints or pesticides.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state departments oversee the rules that regulate hazardous waste. The EPA requires that toxic waste be handled with special precautions and be disposed of in designated facilities around the country. Also, many cities in the United States have collection days where household toxic waste is gathered. Some materials that may not be accepted at regular landfills are ammunition, commercially generated waste, explosives/shock sensitive items, hypodermic needles/syringes, medical waste, radioactive materials, and smoke detectors.