Household hazardous waste in municipal landfills: contaminants in leachate

Sci Total Environ. 2005 Jan 20;337(1-3):119-37. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.07.002.


Household hazardous waste (HHW) includes waste from a number of household products such as paint, garden pesticides, pharmaceuticals, photographic chemicals, certain detergents, personal care products, fluorescent tubes, waste oil, heavy metal-containing batteries, wood treated with dangerous substances, waste electronic and electrical equipment and discarded CFC-containing equipment. Data on the amounts of HHW discarded are very limited and are hampered by insufficient definitions of what constitutes HHW. Consequently, the risks associated with the disposal of HHW to landfill have not been fully elucidated. This work has focused on the assessment of data concerning the presence of hazardous chemicals in leachates as evidence of the disposal of HHW in municipal landfills. Evidence is sought from a number of sources on the occurrence in landfill leachates of hazardous components (heavy metals and xenobiotic organic compounds [XOC]) from household products and the possible disposal-to-emissions pathways occurring within landfills. This review demonstrates that a broad range of xenobiotic compounds occurring in leachate can be linked to HHW but further work is required to assess whether such compounds pose a risk to the environment and human health as a result of leakage/seepage or through treatment and discharge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data
  • Europe
  • Gases / analysis
  • Hazardous Waste* / analysis
  • Hazardous Waste* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Household Products*
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis
  • North America
  • Refuse Disposal* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Volatilization
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Xenobiotics / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Gases
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Xenobiotics