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Common name: Zinc, Zn
Zinc has many commercial uses such as being used as a coating to prevent rust, in dry-cell batteries, as a roof material and importantly, in many alloys such as brass and bronze. Large quantities are also used in the production of die castings. Compounds of zinc are used in industry in the manufacture of paints, plastics, rubber, dyes, wood preservatives, and cosmetics.
Releases to the environment
Most of the zinc released comes from man-made emissions due to iron and steel production, non-ferrous metal production, road transport and to a lesser extent, industrial coal burning and waste incineration. Zinc from road transport is almost entirely due to tyre wear. There is also a significant contribution to the emissions from its use as roof material. As zinc is a naturally occurring element, it is also found in rocks, soil, sediment and natural waters.
Impacts on the environment and human health
Excessive exposure to zinc compounds may affect the blood, digestive system, eye, kidney, lung, pancreas, reproduction system, skin and the unborn child. In parts of the world where there are large deposits, zinc can get into the water supply at levels, which are toxic to fish and potentially to humans.
Zinc and its compounds are listed as priority hazardous substance in of the EU Water Framework Directive, in the OSPAR convention for protection of the Marine Environment and in the Basel Convention controlling the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes. Furthermore zinc is on the EU-Commissions EPER list and listed in the PRTR Protocol under the Århus Convention.
CAS NO: 7440-66-6
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