Montana's Hazardous Waste Burning Issue: Public Opinion And Expert Opinion
The issue of whether to allow the disposal of hazardous waste by incineration is timely and controversial on a global scale. People are lined up on both sides of the issue, ready to persuade others to accept their position, some using arguments such as the one informing us that dioxins and furans, byproducts of hazardous waste incineration, “become more concentrated as they move up the food chain...causing cancer and birth defects, among other afflictions.”1 Literature on the subject of hazardous waste burning contains a myriad of scientific and technical language, information on why it is safe or unsafe, what the consequences will be if burning is permitted, and the consequences if burning is not allowed. Decision makers must place a great deal of importance on scientific and technical facts when deciding whether to allow the incineration of hazardous waste. Because the decision may have implications for public health and the economic viability of a community, this issue has become highly controversial and at times emotional. Although hazardous waste burning is a global issue, this thesis will focus on incineration of hazardous waste in one particular state, Montana.