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Health Tip: The Dangers of Garbage Burning

What's in the smoke may surprise you

(HealthDayNews) -- It may be common practice, but backyard burning of garbage in open containers can release dangerous pollutants including dioxins, volatile organic compounds, and particle pollution.

Inhaling or ingesting even small amounts of these pollutants can cause many dangerous health problems, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Older people, small children, and those with respiratory problems are especially vulnerable.

Dioxins can cause wide range of health problems, including cancer. The largest known source of dioxin emissions in the United States is backyard burning, the EPA says.

And ash created by backyard garbage burning often contains toxic metals such as mercury, lead, chromium and arsenic, the agency adds.

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