Human health risks from TNT, RDX, and HMX in environmental media and consideration of the US Regulatory Environment
Human health risks from TNT, RDX, and HMX in environmental media and consideration of the US Regulatory Environment Although the most economical method for disposing of unwanted energetic high explosives [HEs; e.g., 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-triazine (RDX, also known as Cyclonite), and octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX, also known as Octogen)] involves open burning and open or underground detonation [OB/O(U)D]; federal, state, and even local government agencies in the United States (U.S.) are implementing stricter environmental regulations that eventually may prevent such activities. These stricter regulations will promote alternative technologies that are designed to be environmentally benign. However, past HE-waste disposal practices at manufacturing and fabrication facilities in the U.S. have included uncontrolled OB/O(U)D, as well as direct surface discharge of HE-contaminated waste water, resulting in contaminated environmental media (e.g., ground water, soil, and perhaps even edible vegetation) near residential areas. Using TNT, RDX, and HMX as examples, this paper describes how risk-based standards for HEs can be derived that account for potential multimedia exposures (associated with contaminated air, water, food, and soil) by individuals near a contaminated site, and used to (1) protect public health and safety; (2)prevent limited resources from being dedicated to unnecessary cleanup activities; and (3) identify the most cost-effective, practical, and environmentally benign technologies suitable for integrating with the handling of the large quantity of high explosives more »
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