Solid waste workers: Occupational exposures and health

Lora E Fleming, Judy A. Bean, James Englehardt, Jeff An, Melissa Danits, Nicolette John, Jeffrey Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although solid waste generation is increasing worldwide, the occupational exposures and health risks of solid waste workers are not well understood. This review focuses on the peer-reviewed published medical, epidemiologic, and toxicologic literature, and available governmental reports. Studies from developed and less developed nations, as well as studies on other relevant work-forces (such as hazardous waste workers), were also reviewed. Solid waste workers are exposed to significant levels of physical, chemical and biological toxins. Injury, as well as acute and chronic musculoskeletal, dermal, and respiratory health effects, are well documented among these workers. Engineering controls, exposure monitoring, education, personal protection, and other interventions are under-utilized in protecting solid waste workers from exposure and health effects. Specific recommendations are suggested for reducing exposures and occupational health effects of solid waste workers. Additional research is needed to further characterize the exposures and health effects of these workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-96
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Solid Waste Technology and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2002


  • Exposures
  • Literature review
  • Occupational disease
  • Occupational injury
  • Solid waste
  • Solid waste workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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