By Thomas L. Neff
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Extra info for The Social Costs of Solar Energy. A Study of Photovoltaic Energy Systems
This could occur through buildup in specific human organs (the half-life of cadmium in the body appears to be 15 years or more), causing degradation of function or carcinogenic effects. It is believed that renal cortex concentrations of 200 ppm can lead to kidney dysfunction in sensitive individuals. Possible effects include proteinuria and hypertension. Since about one-third of the body burden of cadmium deposits in the kidney and since lung absorption may be as high as 40 percent, inhalation exposure levels should be kept low enough to prevent buildup to damaging 3 levels.
Silicon process flows. The largest potential health impacts associated with silicon technology occur early in the production process; there appear to be few significant public hazards subsequent to the production of metallurgical grade material. The primary hazards identified include: • • mining of silica and coal (for coke), resulting in the release of particulates production of coke from coal, resulting in the emission of suspended particulates, hydrocarbons, and other materials • refining of silicon, resulting in the release of particulates of silicon dioxide and monoxide and fly ash.
Atmospheric releases of these materials appear to be the primary source of public exposures. The dominant effects in silicon technology appear to come from the mining and refining of silicon, including the use of coke (as a reducing agent) and the release of silicon particulates. For cadmium technology, the major public risks appear to come from the release of cadmium compounds in refining, during processing and handling in manufacture, and from fires involving arrays. Risks associated with gallium arsenide are qualitatively similar in their origin to those of cadmium photovoltaic systems.