Influence of a municipal solid waste landfill in the surrounding environment: Toxicological risk and odor nuisance effects

Marinella Palmiotto, Elena Fattore, Viviana Paiano, Giorgio Celeste, Andrea Colombo, Enrico Davoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


The large amounts of treated waste materials and the complex biological and physicochemical processes make the areas in the proximity of landfills vulnerable not only to emissions of potential toxic compounds but also to nuisance such as odor pollution. All these factors have a dramatic impact in the local environment producing environmental quality degradation.Most of the human health problems come from the landfill gas, from its non-methanic volatile organic compounds and from hazardous air pollutants. In addition several odorants are released during landfill operations and uncontrolled emissions.In this work we present an integrated risk assessment for emissions of hazard compounds and odor nuisance, to describe environmental quality in the landfill proximity. The study was based on sampling campaigns to acquire emission data for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, dioxin-like polychlorobiphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene and vinyl chloride monomer and odor. All concentration values in the emissions from the landfill were measured and used in an air dispersion model to estimate maximum concentrations and depositions in correspondence to five sensitive receptors located in proximity of the landfill.Results for the different scenarios and cancer and non-cancer effects always showed risk estimates which were orders of magnitude below those accepted from the main international agencies (WHO, US EPA). Odor pollution was significant for a limited downwind area near the landfill appearing to be a significant risk factor of the damage to the local environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironment international
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Human health
  • Landfill gas
  • Municipal solid waste landfill
  • Odor nuisance
  • Toxicological risk


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