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February 2006

What are hazardous wastes?

Hazardous wastes are any solid, liquid, or contained gaseous materials which are no longer used and, if not handled or disposed of properly, could damage or pollute the land, air, or water. They can also cause injury or death to exposed individuals. A waste is hazardous if it exhibits one or more of the following characteristics.
  • Ignitability: Ignitable vapors can create fires under certain conditions. Examples include liquids, such as solvents that readily catch fire, and friction sensitive substances.
  • Corrosivity: Corrosive wastes include those that are acidic and those that are capable or corroding metal, such as tanks, containers, drums, and barrels.
  • Reactivity: Reactive wastes are unstable under normal conditions. They can create explosions and/or toxic fumes, gases, and vapors when mixed with water.
  • Toxicity: Toxic wastes are harmful or fatal when ingested or absorbed. When toxic wastes are disposed of on land, contaminated liquid may drain from the waste and pollute ground water.
Collect it ... Cap it ... Label it ... Dispose of it properly!

EH&S Fact

In 2005, Stony Brook generated 51% more hazardous waste than in 2004 (a total of 68 tons). This was mostly due to campus efforts to prepare for the 2005 EPA Audit.

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