What kinds of waste are traded? Lead.
A lot of attention has been paid to lead recently, given its presence in municipal water supplies in cities like Pittsburgh and Flint. In certain concentrations it can contribute to developmental problems especially in children. Lead is found in many products, including car batteries, and as a valuable material, there's a significant trade in lead recycling. The Washington Post has sought to track the illegal trade of lead, in which US entities send batteries across the border into Mexico, where workers labor under hazardous conditions to scrap them and return the material to the US. Data on this illicit trade is unsurprisingly hard to come by. Here we map the sanctioned trade in lead-containing material into and out of the U.S. in 2012. Two facilities, one in Alabama and one in Mexico - both owned by M3 Resources - dominate the solid lead waste trade. Two sites in the Great Lakes region account for the vast majority of the liquid lead waste trade.