State University of New York Institute of Technology
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“Slop Disposal” …Africa not a wasteland

Slop is a form of toxic chemical waste product generated from the use of Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also known as lye and caustic soda. Caustic soda is a caustic metallic base. It is used in many industries, mostly as a strong chemical base in the manufacture of pulp and paper, textiles, drinking water, soaps and detergents and as a drain cleaner.  The following are just a few applications of caustic soda for industrial, commercial and domestic use.

To increase alkalinity of mixtures or neutralize acids

 Paper making - to separate lignin from cellulose fibers

Tissue digestion –decomposition of road kill by disposal companies

Food processing – peeling fruits and vegetables, thickening ice cream, pretzel processing

Domestic use – Drain cleaning agent, relaxer to straighten hair, cleaning agent.

Because of the widespread use of caustic soda and the difficulty and costs of treating it, some unscrupulous companies decide to illegally  dump these toxic wastes in landfills in developing countries (Africa mostly….) causing lots of sickness and death. (see hyperlinks below for more information)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/16/trafigura-african-pollution-disaster?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

A such, whenever you do your hair, scribble a note on a piece of paper, or enjoy that crunchy pretzel, take the time to do research on where waste by-products generated from its production end up.


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