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Researchers Say Cigarette Butts Are Toxic Waste

Researchers say there's new scientific evidence that cigarette butts are toxic hazardous waste. A San Diego State University professor led the research team.

SDSU Professor Tom Novotny says research indicates the California Environmental Protection Agency may be able to label cigarette butts as toxic hazardous waste. He says it's possible the federal EPA will take action too.

"The U.S. EPA has been at some of our meetings and there are some things that could be done fairly readily, by for instance, banning smoking in all national parks and beaches as one way of reducing the butt litter that's there," Novotny says.

He says SDSU research shows cigarette butts allowed to soak in either fresh or salt water kill half the exposed fish at a concentration of about one butt per liter.

Novotny says further research is planned to identify the chemicals in the cigarette butt that are lethal to fish.

He says those chemicals are likely as common in our drinking water as are traces of prescription drugs.

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