Burning of TrashContact: Clean Air Assistance Program, 800-662-9278Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
Trash Burning Restrictions
Public Act 102 of 2012 was signed into law on April 19, 2012, prohibiting the open burning of household trash that contains plastic, rubber, foam, chemically treated wood, textiles, electronics, chemicals or hazardous materials. The burning of these household trash items pose a danger to human health and the environment. The law amends the open burning provisions contained in Section 11522 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Public Act 451 of 1994). The law contains penalty provisions, which may be enforced by local units of government, should a local ordinance not exist.
Health Risks of Burning Trash
Chemicals from the burning of household trash may include hydrogen cyanide, sulfur dioxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, lead, mercury, and dioxin. The fine particulate matter, containing a variety of chemicals, can have acute and chronic health effects on exposed people including cardiovascular and respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma). Long-term and repeated exposure to some of the chemicals emitted during trash burning have been shown to impair neurodevelopment in children, the immune system, reproductive system, and thyroid function. Some pollutants have been shown to contribute to the onset of diabetes and cancer. Many of these pollutants emitted can persist in the environment, resulting in future exposures to both people and wildlife. People conducting open burning of household trash as their main method of disposal will frequently be exposed to these hazardous substances. People living in the surrounding area (i.e., neighbors within several hundred feet) will also be frequently exposed to these hazardous substances.