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Hazardous Waste

GSA's Public Buildings Service (PBS) and tenant federal agencies manage government-owned and leased facilities so that any hazardous waste present poses minimal risk to the environment and to the building occupants.

GSA and client agencies work together to reduce environmental risks associated with hazardous waste. Most of GSA's inventory is general purpose office, parking or warehouse space, which do not normally include operations that generate hazardous waste. However, some commonly used items may be considered hazardous waste because of the quantity generated, such as: household cleaners, pesticides, paints, solvents, fluorescent light bulbs and their PCB ballasts, and copier toners.

A waste may be considered hazardous if it is ignitable, corrosive, reactive or if it contains toxic chemicals. Hazardous waste takes on many physical forms and may be solid, semi-solid or even liquid.

Dependent on the material, hazardous waste exposure to humans can potentially lead to respiratory illnesses, skin diseases (including cancer) and elevated levels of toxic materials in the blood and tissues. In extreme cases death could occur. Hazardous waste can pollute surface waters, killing aquatic life, destroying wildlife and stripping areas of vegetation, as well as pollute ground water, a primary source of drinking water.

All facilities within GSA's control that accumulate, transport, treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste must have an emergency and contingency plan on file in case of an actual hazardous waste spill.


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