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The presence of photovoltaic systems on roofs may also alter the nature of hazards faced by firemen by requiring changes in the ways in which fires are fought. As discussed in chapter 5, interior fires are often shaped into a vertical configuration by opening holes in the roof. This minimizes the lateral spread of the fire, reduces hazards to entering firemen or rescue personnel, and minimizes property damage; it also makes roof involvement much more likely. If the value of photovoltaic systems, or the risk of releasing toxic materials, inhibit use of current firefighting techniques, it is possible that conventional hazards to firefighters will be increased.

44 The Social Costs of Solar Energy The final area of potential concern is the possibility that cadmium com- pounds could play a role in carcinogenesis. If this were the case, health assessments of cadmium photovoltaic systems would have to deal with a much more difficult problem since widescale low levels of exposures could be responsiblethrough the stochastic processes characterizing cancer induction—for significant numbers of health effects. The evidence of carcinogenicity for cadmium compounds is increasing, with greater than normal, but yet statistically inconclusive, incidence of cancers of the genito-urinary system reported for some occupational groups.

Inflationary Impact Statement, Inorganic Arsenic. Performed by Arthur Young and Co. Washington: Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, April 1976. 20. There may also be accidental release hazards which should be considered. For example in the manufacture of thick wafer monocrystalline cells, the GaAs ribbon pulling process is conducted at high temperatures (1250° C) and pressures (100 atm) and therefore introduces the possibility of chronic low level leaks or accidental exposure to high arsenic emissions from the reactor vessel.

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