A Case Study of Human Health Hazards and Environmental Effects Associated with the Release and Exposure of Arsenic Compounds from Poultry Litter Incineration

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Title: A Case Study of Human Health Hazards and Environmental Effects Associated with the Release and Exposure of Arsenic Compounds from Poultry Litter Incineration
Author: Roston, Jeremy
Abstract: ABSTRACT ROSTON, JEREMY B. Master of Environmental Assessment. A Case Study of Human Health Hazards and Environmental Effects Associated with the Release and Exposure of Arsenic Compounds from Poultry Litter Incineration. Arsenic, particularly Roxarsone (3-nitro-4-hydroxy benzene arsonic acid), is a common feed additive widely used by the poultry industry that acts as a highly effective growth promoter by controlling coccidiosis, a parasitic intestinal disease. A growing body of research and literature has revealed that organic arsenicals used in poultry feed, such as Roxarsone, are converted to inorganic arsenicals within the chicken and are also rapidly transformed into inorganic arsenic in poultry wastes and in soils. Based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, Arsenic and inorganic arsenic compounds are known to be human carcinogens. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that inorganic arsenic compounds increase the risk of cancer in the skin, lung, digestive tract, liver, urinary bladder, kidney, and lymphatic and hematopoietic systems. Although the impacts of Roxarsone on human health and the environment are still unknown, studies have found that all these biological effects require the metabolism of organoarsenical compounds to the more highly toxic inorganic Arsenic (AsIII, AsV) species. This is of great concern in regions of the US where the landscape is dominated by poultry Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). In North Carolina alone, 787 million broilers are produced on an annual basis, and with it, an estimated 6.1 million tons of poultry manure is generated and land applied on agricultural lands. Utilization of animal manure as an organic fertilizer on private farm land is still the prefer means of waste management and disposal. However, obtaining renewable energy through the incineration of poultry litter has been proposed as an alternative by the North Carolina state legislature when it passed Session Law 2007-397. Nonetheless, despite continue urban expansion into rural areas, land use change, decline in water quality standards, and elevated nutrient in soils amended by poultry litter, it is necessary to carefully evaluate poultry litter incineration as a means for an alternative to waste management disposal, and its impacts on human health and the environment. Through the examination of current published information on the subject, this case study evaluates research related to human health hazards and the potential environmental effects associated with the exposure and release of arsenical compounds when poultry litter is incinerated. This paper also gathers and examines any relevant peer-reviewed research that provides sufficient evidence to further educate the public about the potential effects of poultry litter incineration and its feasibility as a renewable energy alternative for North Carolina.
Date: 2013-07
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.4/8163


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