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Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Apr 3;46(7):3618-24. doi: 10.1021/es300055m. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Disaster waste characteristics and radiation distribution as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

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Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability, & Energy and School of Nursing & Health Studies, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois 60115, United States.


The compounded impacts of the catastrophes that resulted from the Great East Japan Earthquake have emphasized the need to develop strategies to respond to multiple types and sources of contamination. In Japan, earthquake and tsunami-generated waste were found to have elevated levels of metals/metalloids (e.g., mercury, arsenic, and lead) with separation and sorting more difficult for tsunami-generated waste as opposed to earthquake-generated waste. Radiation contamination superimposed on these disaster wastes has made it particularly difficult to manage the ultimate disposal resulting in delays in waste management. Work is needed to develop policies a priori for handling wastes from combined catastrophes such as those recently observed in Japan.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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