The Environment

Distribution of solid waste

Source Solid Waste State and Federal Efforts to Manage Nonhazardous Waste, U.S. General Accounting Office, Washington, DC, 1995 source Solid Waste State and Federal Efforts to Manage Nonhazardous Waste, U.S. General Accounting Office, Washington, DC, 1995 source Adapted from Figure W-1. Non-Hazardous Waste, in Waste Generation, Energy, Environmental and Economics (E3) Handbook, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Industrial Technology,...

Number of alternative fuel vehicles in use

Alternative Fuels For Vehicles

2004 data are based on plans or projections. bDoes not include flex-fuel vehicles. 2004 data are based on plans or projections. bDoes not include flex-fuel vehicles. source Stacy C. Davis and Susan W. Diegel, Table 6.1. Estimates of Alternative Fuel Vehicles in Use, 1995-2004, in Transportation Energy Data Book Edition 24, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Planning, Budget Formulation and Analysis, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Washington, DC, December 2004, (accessed August 4,...

Earth Summit Biodiversity Treaty

At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 156 nations signed a pact to conserve species, habitats, and ecosystems. This Biodiversity Treaty is regarded as one of two main achievements of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the other being a treaty on global warming. The Biodiversity Treaty makes nations responsible for any environmental harm in other countries produced by companies headquartered in their country. One provision of the treaty concerns biotechnology, a...

Drinking Water Drinking Water Legislation

Almost any legislation concerning water affects drinking water, either directly or indirectly. The following pieces of legislation are aimed specifically at providing safe drinking water for the nation's residents. safe drinking water act of 1974. The SDWA mandated that the EPA establish and enforce minimum national drinking water standards for all public water systems community and noncommunity in the United States. The law also required the EPA to develop guidelines for water treatment and to...

Milwaukee The Nations Worst Drinking Water Disaster

In April 1993, 403,000 residents of Milwaukee became victims of what is considered the worst drinking water disaster the nation has experienced. Cryptospor-idium flourished in the city water supply, which had been turbid cloudy for several days. For a week more than eight hundred thousand residents were without potable drinkable tap water. By the end of the disaster more than forty people lost their lives because of the outbreak. In addition to the human suffering, the disease cost an estimated...

Geologic Repositories for Radioactive Waste

Hazardous Waste Containment Facilities

The United States has sought for years to establish permanent storage facilities for HLW and TRU. These wastes have historically been kept in temporary storage at nuclear power plants and DOE facilities around the country. Scientists have focused on the use of geological repositories storage facilities constructed deep underground for permanent waste disposal. The ideal location for these repositories is in ancient geological formations that are relatively dry and not subject to earthquakes or...

Estimated use of groundwater in

Note Total may not sum to 100 because of rounding. Note Total may not sum to 100 because of rounding. source Adapted from Susan S. Hutson, Nancy L. Barber, Joan F. Kenny, Kristin S. Linsey Deborah S. Lumia, and Molly A. Maupin, Table 4. Ground-Water Withdrawals by Water-Use Category, 2000, in Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2000 (Circular 1268), U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, April 2004, (accessed August 4, 2005) slowing stream flow, a dam...

Examples of point and nonpoint sources of pollution

Point Nonpoint Sources

Are indicated on the left side of the indicated on the right side of the river. source Figure 3. Examples of Point and Nonpoint Sources of Pollution, in Water Quality Key EPA and State Decisions Limited by Inconsistent and Incomplete Data, U.S. General Accounting Office, Washington, DC, March 2000 are indicated on the left side of the indicated on the right side of the river. source Figure 3. Examples of Point and Nonpoint Sources of Pollution, in Water Quality Key EPA and State Decisions...

Breakdown of Superfund budget sources

1,800 - 1,600 - 1,400 - 1,200 - 1,000 800 600 400 200 0 Trust fund share General revenues share SP SP c source Adapted from Superfund Budget History, in About Superfund, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, 2005, http www.epa accessed August 4, 2005 and municipalities may be unable to assume such expense. The EPA reports that the government currently collects only one-fifth of the cleanup costs that could be recovered from polluters under the Superfund law. According to the...

Northern Alaska showing locations and relative sizes of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska NPRA and the Arctic

Size Anwr Alaska

Map of Northern Alaska Showing Locations and Relative Sizes of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), in U.S. Geological Survey 2002 Petroleum Resource Assessment of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA), U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC, 2002 source Figure 1. Map of Northern Alaska Showing Locations and Relative Sizes of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and the Arctic National...

The Politics Of Acid Rain

Scientific research on acid rain was sporadic and largely focused on local problems until the late 1960s, when Scandinavian scientists began more systematic studies. Acid precipitation in North America was not identified until 1972, when scientists found that precipitation was acidic in eastern North America, especially in northeastern and eastern Canada. In 1975 the First International Symposium on Acid Precipitation and the Forest Ecosystem convened in Columbus, Ohio, to define the acid rain...

Competing Interests Environment Energy and Economy

For many years the Gallup Organization has polled people about which should take priority the environment or economic growth. The vast majority of polls conducted between 1984 and 2000 showed strong support for the environment even at the risk of curbing economic growth. In all of these polls at least 58 of the people asked agreed with this view. The tide began to turn during the early 2000s as economic growth became a higher priority. The March 2005 poll showed that 53 of those asked believed...

Example of a properly closed landfill

Diagram Properly Closed Landfill

Example of a Properly Closed Landfill, in Fact Flash 6 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Washington, DC, 1999 source Diagram 1. Example of a Properly Closed Landfill, in Fact Flash 6 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Washington, DC, 1999 estimated at about twenty thousand. In 1979, as part of the...

Generation materials recovery combustion and discards of municipal solid waste

Includes combustion of MSW in mass burn or refuse-derived fuel form, and combustion with energy recovery of source separated materials in MSW (e.g., wood pallets and tire-derived fuel). Discards after recovery minus combustion. Details may not add to totals due to rounding. Includes combustion of MSW in mass burn or refuse-derived fuel form, and combustion with energy recovery of source separated materials in MSW (e.g., wood pallets and tire-derived fuel). Discards after recovery minus...

Material Recovery Rates

Municipal Solid Waste 1960 2003

The Environmental Protection Agency EPA publication Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States Facts and Figures for 2003 pubs msw05rpt.pdf, April 2005 reports that Americans recycled 72.3 million tons of MSW in 2003, accounting for 30.6 of total MSW generated. See Figure 7.1. This was an average recycling rate of just more than one pound per person per day. Recycling rates for various materials are shown in Table 7.1. The materials with the highest recovery...

Evidence Of Ozone Depletion

Many scientists believe that the introduction of certain chemicals into the stratosphere alters the natural ozone balance by depleting ozone molecules. Chlorine and bromine atoms are particularly destructive. They can bind to loose oxygen atoms and prevent them from reforming either oxygen or ozone. Chlorine and bromine are found in the sea salt from ocean spray. Chlorine is also present in the form of hydrochloric acid emitted with volcanic gases. These are natural sources of ozone-depleting...

Major federal environmental and wildlife protection acts

Clean Air Act CAA Prevent the deterioration of air quality Clean Water Act CWA Regulate sources of water pollution Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability CERCLA or Superfund Address problems of abandoned hazardous waste sites Emergency Planning amp Community Right-To-Know Act EPCRA Help local communities protect public health, safety, and the environment from chemical hazards Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act FIFRA Control pesticide distribution,...

US scrap tire disposition

Scrap Tire Disposition

Scrap Tire Disposition, 2003, in U.S. Scrap Tire Markets 2003 Edition, Rubber Manufacturers Association, Washington, DC, July 2004, https www.rma.org publications CFTOKEN 57977325 accessed August 4, 2005 discussed in a July 2001 article by the U.S. Geological Survey USGS titled ''Obsolete Computers, Gold Mine or High-Tech Trash '' The article notes that a typical personal computer PC becomes obsolete in 2-5 years. The USGS estimates that up to twenty million PCs per year...

Technologies to neutralize or destroy toxic compounds in hazardous waste

Packer Protect Aquifer

Biodegradation Biodegradation uses microorganisms to breakdown organic compounds to make a wasteless toxic. Chemical reduction Chemical reduction converts metal and inorganic constituents in wastewater into insoluble precipitates that are later settled out of the wastewater, leaving a lower concentration of metals and inorganics in the wastewater. Combustion Combustion destroys organic wastes or makes them less hazardous through burning in boilers, industrial furnaces, or incinerators....

Soil Erosion and Agriculture

Agricultural lands are the principal source of eroded soil. According to the USDA, approximately 20 of the nation's land is set aside for cropland. Three-quarters of this land is actively used to grow crops for harvesting. The remainder is used for pasture or is idled for various reasons. This would include cropland enrolled in the Federal Conservation Reserve Program CRP . See Figure 11.8. Agriculture depends primarily on the top six to eight inches of topsoil. Fields planted in rows, such as...

National forest and grassland areas

Grassland Areas Map Canada

Source Find National Forests and Grasslands, in Recreation, Heritage, & Wilderness Resources, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, Washington, DC, April 13, 2004, (accessed August 4, 2005) source Find National Forests and Grasslands, in Recreation, Heritage, & Wilderness Resources, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, Washington, DC, April 13, 2004, (accessed August 4, 2005) White Pine Blister Rust A fungus native to Europe introduced to western Canada around...

Timber Harvesting and Replanting

Environmentalists fear that forests of the United States are being depleted by clear-cutting practices the method of logging in which all trees in an area are Acres of land to be treated by Forest Service, by pest, fiscal year 2005 source Adapted from Acres of Land Planned for Treatment by Forest Service Forest Health Protection Activities for Forest Insects, Diseases and Invasive Plants Using FY05 Funding, in Healthy Forests Report, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington,...

Environmental Justicean Evolving Issue

The so-called environmental justice issue stems from concerns that racial minorities are disproportionately subject to environmental hazards. The EPA defines environmental justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.'' Examples of environmental injustice include the following claims Low-income...

Sources of Radioactive Waste

Radioactive waste results from the mining, processing, and use of radioactive materials for commercial, military, medical, and research purposes. In general, the Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for manag ing radioactive waste associated with the nation's military and defense operations. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has primary responsibility for managing radioactive wastes produced by other sources. Some state agencies have also been authorized to regulate aspects of...

Federal agencies that oversee natural resources

Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Bureau of Indian Affairs Bureau of Land Management Bureau of Reclamation Fish and Wildlife Service Minerals Management Service National Park Service Office of Surface Mining U.S. Geological Survey U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Grants permits for dredging and filling in certain waterways, including many wetlands. Manages more than 190 million acres of public lands in national forests and...

Effects of acid rain on human health and selected ecosystems and anticipated recovery benefits

In the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides become sulfate and nitrate aerosols, which increase morbidity and mortality from lung disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis, and impacts to the cardiovascular system. Acidic surface waters decrease the survivability of animal life in lakes and streams and in the more severe instances eliminate some or all types of fish and other organisms. Acid deposition contributes to forest degradation by impairing trees' growth and increasing their...

Sources of Drinking Water Public and Private Supply

According to the EPA, there were 159,796 public water supply systems in operation in 2004, serving nearly 297 million people. (See Table 9.2.) These included systems that served homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and recreational parks. Those who did not get their water from a public system were for the most part in rural areas and got their water from private wells. Although most systems obtain their water from groundwater, most people receive drinking water from surface water sources....

Tropical Rain Forests

Tropical forests lie in a broad belt centered at the Earth's equator, extending as far north as Mexico and as far south as northern Australia. They cover much of South America, central Africa, and southeast Asia. In 2000 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimated that tropical forests account for nearly half (47 ) of the world's forest acreage of 9.6 billion acres (Global Forest Resource Assessment 2000, Rain forests are a subset of tropical forests that receive...

The Cost Of Air Pollution And Pollution Control

Air quality plays a major and complex role in public health. Among the factors that must be considered are the levels of pollutants in the air, the levels of individual exposure to these pollutants, individual susceptibility to toxic substances, and exposure time related to ill effects from certain substances. Blaming health effects on specific pollutants is also complicated by the health impact of nonenvironmental causes (such as heredity or poor diet). Sales and specifications of available...

Waterborne pathogens found in human waste and associated diseases

Adenovirus (31 types) Enterovirus (67 types, e.g., polio-, echo-, and Coxsackie viruses) Hepatitis A Norwalk agent Reovirus Rotavirus Infectious hepatitis Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis Vomiting, diarrhea, death In susceptible populations High fever, diarrhea, ulceration of the small intestine Extremely heavy diarrhea, dehydration Diarrhea Prolonged diarrhea with bleeding, abscesses of the liver and small intestine Mild to severe diarrhea, nausea, indigestion Fatal disease...

Depletion And Conservation Of Natural Resources

Throughout history humans have relied on the world's natural resources for survival. Early civilizations were dependent on sources of clean water, soils suitable for growing crops to feed people and livestock, and wild animals that could be hunted for meat, skins, and fur. As time passed societies learned to harvest and use other natural resources, primarily wood, metals, minerals, and fossil fuels. For centuries there was little thought given to the consequences of depleting these resources....

Locations of commercial operating nuclear power reactors

States Quiz

Region I Region II (includes PR and VI) Region III Region IV (includes AK and HI) a Licensed to operate Region I Region II (includes PR and VI) Region III Region IV (includes AK and HI) a Licensed to operate Notes There are no commercial reactors in Alaska (AK) or Hawaii (HI). PR is Puerto Rico VI is Virgin Islands. Notes There are no commercial reactors in Alaska (AK) or Hawaii (HI). PR is Puerto Rico VI is Virgin Islands. source Map of the United States Showing Locations of Operating Nuclear...

Historical Perspective

The earliest humans did not have garbage disposal problems. They lived in nomadic tribes, wandering the countryside and following herds of wild animals that they hunted and killed for food and clothing. Scavengers and insects ate their discarded food remains, and what was left decomposed. About twelve thousand years ago people began to form villages and become farmers. For the first time they had to live with their garbage, which smelled bad and attracted wild animals. Therefore, some villagers...

Breakdown by type of paper and paperboard products generated in municipal solid waste

Product category (thousand tons) Other commercial printing 6,950 Other nonpackaging paper4 3,960 nondurable goods 44,260 Containers and packaging Other paper packaging 1,700 Total paper and paperboard containers and packaging 38,830 Total paper and paperboard 83,090 aFormerly called Third Class Mail by the U.S. Postal Service. Includes tissue in disposable diapers, paper in games and novelties, cards, etc. Details may not add to totals due to rounding. source Adapted from Table 4. Paper and...

Typical hazardous waste generated by small businesses

Furniture wood manufacturing and refinishing Printing and allied industries Equipment repair Pesticide end-users application services Wood cleaning and wax removal, refinishing stripping, staining, painting, finishing, brush cleaning and spray brush cleaning Paint preparation and painting, carpentry and floor work, other specialty contracting activities, heavy construction, wrecking and demolition, vehicle and equipment maintenance for construction activities Diagnostic and other laboratory...

The Business of Environmental Protection

In order for the United States and other nations to meet their environmental goals, an environmental protection industry has emerged. Its major activities include pollution control, waste management, cleanup of contaminated sites, pollution prevention, and recycling. Environmental Business International Inc. (EBI) is a private organization that offers business and market information to the environmental industry. According to EBI the U.S. environmental market was largely driven by major...

Scrap Tire Recyclinga Success Story

Scrap tires have always posed a disposal problem for the United States. Scrap tires accumulated in landfills or uncontrolled tire dumps can pose health and fire hazards. The tires are highly combustible, do not compost, and do not degrade easily. The material, primarily hydrocarbons, burns easily, producing toxic, bad-smelling air pollutants and toxic runoff when burned in the open. Health effects that can result from exposure to an open tire fire include irritation of the skin, eyes, and...

Government Regulation The Toxics Release Inventory

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) was established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986. Under the program certain industrial facilities using specific toxic chemicals must report annually on their waste management activities and toxic chemical releases. These releases are to air, land, or water. More than 650 toxic chemicals are on the TRI list. In addition, the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 requires the EPA to collect data on toxic chemicals recycled,...

Sites storing spent nuclear fuel highlevel radioactive waste andor surplus plutonium

Outline States

O Sites storing spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, and or surplus plutonium destined for geologic disposition Note Symbols do not reflect precise locations. source Sites Storing Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level Radioactive Waste, and or Surplus Plutonium Destined for Geologic Disposition, in Spent Nuclear Fuel Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC, 2002 O Sites storing spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, and or surplus...

How Clean Is Our Drinking Water

Safe drinking water is a cornerstone of public health. In accordance with the 1996 SDWA amendments, public water systems are mandated to submit compliance reports on the quality of their drinking water. According to the EPA, 90 of the nation's public water systems achieved water quality levels or treatment standards in fiscal year 2004. The vast majority of U.S. residents receive water from systems that have no reported violations of MCLs and no flaws in treatment techniques, monitoring, or...

Land drawing demonstrating watershed approach for the management of water resources

The Area Hydrologically Defined by a Watershed is Affected by Many Processes and Issues. A 'Watershed Approach' Coordinates Their Management, in Protecting and Restoring America's Watersheds, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Washington, DC, June 2001 since the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1990s, however, some politicians proposed legislation to change the Clean Water Act, giving more authority to the states and more weight to economic considerations....

Public concern about pollution of drinking water

PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU PERSONALLY WORRY ABOUT THIS PROBLEM A GREAT DEAL, A FAIR AMOUNT, ONLY A LITTLE, OR NOT AT ALL. POLLUTION OF DRINKING WATER PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU PERSONALLY WORRY ABOUT THIS PROBLEM A GREAT DEAL, A FAIR AMOUNT, ONLY A LITTLE, OR NOT AT ALL. POLLUTION OF DRINKING WATER source Please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all. Pollution of drinking water in Poll Topics and Trends Environment, The Gallup...

Soil and Vegetation

Acid rain is believed to harm vegetation by changing soil chemistry. Soils exposed to acid rain can gradually lose valuable nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and become too concentrated with dissolved inorganic aluminum, which is toxic to vegetation. Long-term changes in soil chemistry may have already affected sensitive soils, particularly in forests. Forest soils saturated in nitrogen cannot retain other nutrients required for healthy vegetation. Subsequently, these...

Oil Pollution

In 1989 the oil freighter Exxon Valdez ran into a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling more than eleven million gallons of oil into one of the richest and most ecologically pristine areas in North America. An oil slick the size of Rhode Island killed wildlife and marine species. A 5-billion damage penalty was levied against Exxon, whose ship captain was found to be at fault in the wreck. In response to the Valdez oil spill, Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (PL 101-380)...

Lacking Basic Knowledge

In May 2004 the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation NEETF , a private nonprofit organization, published a report titled Understanding Environmental Literacy in America And Making It a Reality'' http www.neetf.org roper ELR.pdf . The report summarizes the NEETF's findings on the depth of knowledge of environmental issues by American students and adults. It is based on polls and studies conducted by a variety of organizations, including the NEETF, Roper Starch Worldwide, and...

Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a gas composed of sulfur and oxygen. The chemical formula SOx is used collectively to describe sulfur oxide, SO2, and other sulfur oxides. emissions and sources. One of the primary sources of sulfur dioxide is the combustion of fossil fuels containing sulfur. Coal (particularly high-sulfur coal common to the eastern United States) and oil are the major fuel sources associated with SO2. Power plants have historically been the main source of SO2 emissions. Some industrial...

Chapter Water Issues

It is an essential resource for sustaining human, animal, and vegetative life. Agriculture is absolutely dependent on water to produce food crops and livestock. Water is crucial to tourism, navigation, and industry. Enormous amounts are used to generate power, mine materials, and produce goods. Water is an ingredient, a medium, and a means of conveyance or cooling in most industrial processes. Water supplies a vital habitat for many of Earth's creatures, from...

Reformulated Gasoline

Reformulated gasoline (RFG) is gasoline that contains added oxygen. This process produces a lower-octane fuel and usually an increase in price. Oxygenation of fuel makes combustion more complete. Incomplete fuel combustion is a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. RFG is specially blended to have lower concentrations of certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in order to reduce ozone formation and emissions of air toxins. Although RFG combustion results in lower CO emissions, higher...

The History Of Air Pollution Legislation

Air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels was a problem in urban areas of England as long ago as the fourteenth century. In 1307 King Edward I banned the burning of coal in London ''to avoid the sulfurous smoke'' and commanded Londoners to burn wood instead. The ban was short-lived, however, as a wood shortage forced the city to switch back to coal. Historians record that future British monarchs also tried unsuccessfully to curtail the use of coal to reduce air pollution. The onset of the...

Wetlands contribution to improving water quality and reducing storm water runoff

Wetlands' Contribution to Improving Water Quality and Reducing Storm Water Runoff, in Federal Incentives Could Help Promote Land Use That Protects Air and Water Quality, GAO-02-12, U.S. General Accounting Office, Washington, DC, October 2001 source Figure 5. Wetlands' Contribution to Improving Water Quality and Reducing Storm Water Runoff, in Federal Incentives Could Help Promote Land Use That Protects Air and Water Quality, GAO-02-12, U.S. General Accounting Office,...

Trends in US greenhouse gas emissions and sinks in teragrams of carbon dioxide equivalents Teragrams CO Equivalent and

Substitution of ozone depleting substances Electrical transmission and distribution Sinks are only included in net emissions total, and are based partially on projected activity data. Parentheses indicate negative values (or sequestration). 'Emissions from international bunker fuels and biomass combustion are not included in totals. Note Totals may not sum due to independent rounding. source Table ES-2. Recent Trends in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (Tg CO2 Eq.), in Inventory of U.S....

Radioactive Waste What Is Radioactivity

Radioactivity is the spontaneous emission of energy and or high-energy particles from the nucleus of an unstable atom. The three primary types of radiation are alpha, beta, and gamma. Isotopes are atoms of an element that have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei. For example, the element carbon has twelve protons and twelve neutrons comprising its nucleus. One isotope of carbon, C-14, has twelve protons and fourteen neutrons in its nucleus. This is a...

Threats to Human Health

The most obvious threat of ozone depletion to humans is increased exposure to UVB radiation that causes skin cancer and cataracts. There are two types of skin cancer nonmelanoma and melanoma. The American Cancer Society reported in 2005 that more than one million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year and estimated that between one thousand and two thousand people would die from the disease. The incidence of cancer is closely tied to cumulative exposure to...

Landfills and the Environment

Methane, a flammable gas, is produced when organic matter decomposes in the absence of oxygen. If not properly vented or controlled, it can cause explosions and underground fires that smolder for years. Methane is also deadly to breathe. The RCRA requires landfill operators to monitor methane gas. The Smithsonian Garbage Project found that for fifteen or twenty years after a landfill stops accepting garbage, the wells still vent methane in fairly substantial amounts. Thereafter,...

The potential hydrogen pH scale

Mean pH of Adirondack Lakes-1975 Pure rain 5.6 Mean pH of Adirondack Lakes-1930s Distilled water Baking soda 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Acidic Neutral 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Acidic Neutral The pH potential hydrogen scale is a measure of hydrogen ion concentration. Hydrogen ions have a positive electrical charge and are called cations ions with a negative electrical charge are known as anions. A substance containing equal concentrations of cations and anions so that the electrical charges balance is neutral...

What Are Wetlands

Wetlands is a general term used to describe areas that are always or often saturated by enough surface or groundwater to sustain vegetation that is typically adapted to saturated soil conditions, such as cattails, bulrushes, red maples, wild rice, blackberries, cranberries, and peat moss. The Florida Everglades and the coastal Alaskan salt marshes are examples of wetlands, as are the sphagnum-heath bogs of Maine. Because some varieties of wetlands are rich in minerals and nutrients and provide...

Breakdown by waste type of municipal solid waste generated

Note Total MSW was 236 million tons (before recycling). source Figure 3. 2003 Total MSW Generation 236 Million Tons (Before Recycling), in Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States Facts and Figures for 2003, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Washington, DC, April 2005, http www.epa (accessed August 4, 2005) Note Total MSW was 236 million tons (before recycling). source Figure 3. 2003 Total MSW Generation 236...

The History And Current Strength Of Recycling

Recycling has become a major part of MSW management in the United States, and it will likely continue to grow, although at a slower pace than in the past. Recycling, however, did not enjoy immediate success. It started out as a do-good activity but eventually became a necessity for municipal governments. For a quarter-century after the first Earth Day (April 22, 1970), recycling advocates pleaded their case to skeptical decision-makers in the interest of environmental benefit. In the early...

Measuring Acid Rain

The acidity of any solution is measured on a potential hydrogen pH scale numbered from zero to fourteen, with a pH value of seven considered neutral. Values higher than seven are considered more alkaline or basic the pH of baking soda is eight values lower than seven are considered acidic the pH of lemon juice is two . The pH scale is a logarithmic measure. This means that every pH change of one is a ten-fold change in acid content. Therefore, a decrease from pH seven to pH six is a tenfold...

EPA estimates of national air pollutant emissions

In 1985 and 1996 EPA refined its methods for estimating emissions. Between 1970 and 1975, EPA revised its methods for estimating particulate matter emissions. bThe estimates for 2004 are preliminary. cNOx estimates prior to 1990 include emissions from fires. Fires would represent a small percentage of the NOx emissions. dPM estimates do not include condensable PM, or the majority of PM2.5 that is formed in the atmosphere from 'precursor' gases such as SO2 and NOx. eEPA has not estimated PM2.5...

Clean Air Act list of titles

Title I Air Pollution Prevention And Control Title II Emission Standards For Moving Sources Title IV Acid Deposition Control Title VI Stratospheric Ozone Protection source Clean Air Act Table of Contents, in Clean Air Act, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, July 2005, http www .epa.gov air oaq_caa.html accessed August 4, 2005 pollutants, such as mercury. They fear that the cap-and-trade system would allow utility plants in some areas to release unacceptably high levels of...

Montreal Protocol Problems

Implementation and enforcement of the Montreal Protocol have been aggravated by numerous factors. In August 2003 the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP summarized these problems in Backgrounder Basic Facts and Data on the Science and Politics of Ozone Protection http www.unep.ch ozone pdf Press-Backgrounder.pdf . The report listed five major challenges facing complete implementation of the Montreal Protocol Incomplete ratification of all amendments Economic difficulties in the Russian...

Public concern about air pollution

PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU PERSONALLY WORRY ABOUT THIS PROBLEM A GREAT DEAL, A FAIR AMOUNT, ONLY A LITTLE, OR NOT AT ALL. AIR POLLUTION Great Fair Only a Not at No deal amount little all opinion Great Fair Only a Not at No deal amount little all opinion source Please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all. Air pollution in Poll Topics and Trends Environment, The Gallup Organization, Princeton, NJ, March 17, 2004, www.gallup.com...

Information Plus Reference Series

Formerly Published by Information Plus, Wylie, Texas The Environment A Revolution in Attitudes Kim Masters Evans Paula Kepos, Series Editor Project Editor Composition and Electronic Prepress Manufacturing John McCoy Evi Seoud Drew Kalasky Margaret Abendroth, Edna Hedblad, Emma Hull 2006 Thomson Gale, a part of The Thomson Corporation. Thomson and Star logos are trademarks and Gale is a registered trademark used herein under license. For more information, contact Thomson Gale 27500 Drake Rd. Or...

Greenhouse gas emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol

(R) Country has ratified, accepted, approved, or acceded to the Kyoto Protocol. *European Union member countries renegotiated their individual targets under the EU Shared Burden Agreement, which was agreed to in 1998 and reaffirmed in the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. (R) Country has ratified, accepted, approved, or acceded to the Kyoto Protocol. *European Union member countries renegotiated their individual targets under the EU Shared Burden Agreement, which was agreed to in 1998...

Illegal Trade and Smuggling of CFCs

In 1996 the ban on CFCs was implemented in the developed countries, including the United States. The CFC called Freon was widely used in automobile air conditioners prior to that time. After the ban went into effect there were still millions of Americans with cars that used Freon as a refrigerant. Although alternative refrigerants were available, they were more expensive than Freon. The result was a black market for the product. Several U.S. government agencies the EPA, the Customs Service, the...

Generalized shortterm effects of acidity on fish

6.0-6.4 Unlikely to be harmful except when carbon dioxide levels are very high (> 1,000 mg I1) 5.0-5.9 Not especially harmful except when carbon dioxide levels are high (> 20 mg I_1) or ferric ions are present 4.5-4.9 Harmful to the eggs of salmon and trout species (salmonids) and to adult fish when levels of Ca2+, Na+ and Cl are low 4.0-4.4 Harmful to adult fish of many types which have not been progressively acclimated to low pH 3.5-3.9 Lethal to salmonids, although acclimated roach can...

Plastics generated and recovered

1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2003 source Figure 9. Plastics Generation and Recovery, 1960 to 2003, in Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States 2003 Data Tables, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Washington, DC, April 2005, 03data.pdf (accessed August 4, 2005) different resins in common use, each with a different chemical formulation. Although waste plastic products can be melted down and...

Industrial Hazardous Waste

Industrial hazardous wastes are usually a combination of compounds, one or more of which may be hazardous. For example, used pickling solution from a metal processor may contain acid, a hazardous waste, along with water and other nonhazardous compounds. Pickling is a chemical method of cleaning metal and removing rust during processing. A mixture of wastes produced regularly as a result of industrial processes generally consists of diluted rather than full-strength compounds. Often the...

Ocean Dumping

Congress enacted the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act in 1972 (PL 92-532) to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials and to authorize research. Title 1 of the act, known as the Ocean Dumping Act, contains permit and enforcement provisions for ocean dumping. Four federal agencies have authority under the act the EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Title 1 prohibits all ocean dumping, except...

Why Are Toxins Toxic

A toxin is a substance bacterial, viral, chemical, metal, fibrous, or radioactive that poisons or harms a living organism. A toxin may cause immediate, acute symptoms such as gastroenteritis, or cause harm after long-term exposure such as living in a lead- or radon-contaminated home for many years. Some toxins can have both immediate and long-term effects living in an environment with poor air quality may trigger an acute asthma attack, or, after many years' exposure, it may contribute to lung...

Endocrine Disrupters Environmental Hormones

Medical and scientific researchers are increasingly linking some environmental chemicals to the endocrine systems of humans and wildlife. The endocrine system also called the hormone system is made up of glands located throughout the body, hormones that are synthesized and secreted by the glands into the bloodstream, and receptors in the various target organs and tissues. The receptors recognize and respond to the hormones. The function of the system is to regulate the many bodily processes,...

The Many Roles of Wetlands

Productive wetlands are rich ecosystems that support diverse forms of plant and wildlife. Wetlands also play many other roles in the environment. Their primary contributions are noted below Food and habitat Wetlands are a source of food and habitat for numerous game and nongame animals. For some species of waterfowl and freshwater and saltwater fish, wetlands are essential for nesting and breeding. They also provide way stations for migrating birds. About one in five plant and animal species...

Public Opinion About Natural Resources

Periodically, the Gallup Organization conducts a comprehensive poll of Americans on environmental issues. The latest poll with results dealing with natural resource issues was conducted in March 2004. Poll participants were asked to express their level of concern about two issues loss of tropical rain forests and extinction of plant and animal species. As shown in Table 11.3, only 35 of the respondents expressed a great deal of concern about the loss of tropical rain forests in 2004. This value...