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H

Habitat

The geographical location(s) and the associated set(s) of environmental conditions that are necessary for the flourishing of a particular type of plant or animal. In other words, their home.

Half-life

The amount of time that is required for a radioactive substance to lose one-half its activity. Each radioactive substance has a unique half-life. It is also used to describe the time for a pollutant to lose one half of its concentration, as through biological action; and the time for elimination of one half a total dose of a drug from a body.

Halons

Chemical compounds developed from hydrocarbons by replacing atoms of hydrogen with atoms of halogens, such as fluorine, chlorine, or bromine. CFCs are halons (see above). Halons are widely used as fire extinguishing agents.

Hazardous Waste

Waste substances which can pose a substantial or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly managed. Hazardous waste possesses at least one of these four characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity.

Heavy Metals

A group of elements (such as chromium, lead, copper and zinc) that can be toxic at relatively low concentrations and tend to accumulate in the food chain.

Hibernation

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)

Organic substances composed of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, and carbon atoms. These chemicals are less stable than CFCs, and are therefore less damaging to the ozone layer.Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

Hydroelectricity

Electric energy produced by water-powered turbine generators.

Hydrologic cycle

The cycle that water through its natural process of evaporation and precipitation



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