Pollution Guide

Electric Power

Power is defined as the energy that is consumed or converted in a certain amount of time. In a simple electrical circuit, the power is found by multiplying the voltage and current. An electric current is the movement of charged particles measured in amperes and the voltage of the force driving them. Current that flows in one direction only, such as the current in a battery-powered flashlight, is called direct current. Current that flows back and forth, reversing direction again and again, such...

Outreach Efforts

As a response to the growing pollution problem in the United States and other countries, outreach programs have been set up by various government agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to promote the awareness and prevention of pollution. This educational strategy is effective at reducing (and even eliminating) pollution so that it requires less regulation, monitoring, and cleaning up. The EPA has organized cooperative programs with the Peace Corps, the North American Association for...

The s A Very Green Decade

The legal achievements of the Environmental Defense Fund demonstrated the virtues of organized activism, pointing the way for other interested parties that wanted to follow suit. Organizations sprang up year after year, employing the talents of individuals with expertise in the rapidly developing field of environmental law. Some of those individuals became famous in their own right, such as American lobbyist Ralph Nader who founded the Public Interest Research Group in 1970 as one of the first...

Earth First

Earth First (EF ) is a network of environmental activists, living mostly in the United States, committed to preserving wilderness and biological abun Earth First Journal logo. (Courtesy of Earth First Journal. Reproduced by permission.) Earth First Journal logo. (Courtesy of Earth First Journal. Reproduced by permission.) dance. It was founded in 1980 by Dave Foreman, Mike Roselle, and a number of other environmentalists who were disillusioned with so-called mainstream environmentalism. Foreman...

Environmental Engineering and Sciences

Environmental engineers specialize in either preventing or cleaning up pollution or environmental emergencies. Engineers who work to prevent pollution look for and help defend against potential sources of damage to the environment. Engineers who specialize in cleaning up accidents decide how to clean up environmental problems quickly and efficiently. Engineers are called upon to resolve complex problems such as oil spills, hazardous waste, and polluted lakes and wetlands. Geographic information...

Physical Removal

The physical removal of contaminated soil and groundwater has been, and continues to be, a common cleanup practice. However, physical removal does not eliminate the contamination, but rather transfers it to another location. In ideal cases, the other location will be a facility that is specially designed to contain the contamination for a sufficient period of time. In this way, proper removal reduces risk by reducing or removing the potential for exposure to the contamination. Removal options...

Disasters Nuclear Accidents

Acute in medicine, short-term or happening quickly chronic in medicine, long-term or happening over time half-life the time required for a pollutant to lose one-half of its original concentration for example, the biochemical halflife of DDT in the environment is fifteen years spent radioactive fuel radioactive fuel rods after they has been used for power generation bioaccumulation buildup of a chemical within a food chain when a predator consumes prey containing that chemical Of all the...

The Chernobyl Disaster

Concern became reality at 1 23 a.m. on April 25, 1986, when the worst civil nuclear catastrophe in history occurred at the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Soviet Union (which is now in Ukraine). More than thirty people were killed immediately. The radiation release was thirty to forty times that of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of people were ultimately evacuated from the most heavily contaminated zone surrounding Chernobyl. Radiation spread to...

Environmental Racism

Up to the late 1960s, racism was defined as a doctrine, dogma, ideology, or set of beliefs. The central theme of this doctrine was that race determined culture. Some cultures were deemed superior to others therefore, some races were superior and others inferior. During the 1960s the definition of racism was expanded to include the practices, attitudes, and beliefs that supported the notion of racial superiority and inferiority. Such beliefs and practices produced racial discrimination. However,...

Earth Summit

On June 3 and 4, 1992, the Earth Summit formally the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development or UNCED met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a twenty-year follow-up to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment UNCHE, held in Stockholm . The goal of the 120 heads of state, over ten thousand government delegates, and hundreds of officials from UN organizations was to refocus global attention on the planet's degradation. It was the largest gathering of heads of state in...

Disasters Chemical Accidents and Spills

Disasters Chemical

By their nature, the manufacture, storage, and transport of chemicals are accidents waiting to happen. Chemicals can be corrosive, toxic, and they may react, often explosively. The impacts of chemical accidents can be deadly, for both human beings and the environment. Many if not most products we use in everyday life are made from chemicals and thousands of chemicals are used by manufacturing industries to make these products. The source of many of these chemicals is petroleum, which is refined...

Macmillan Reference USA

Frank Menchaca, Vice President and Publisher H l ne Potter, Director, New Product Development Richard M. Stapleton, Editor in Chief New York Detroit San Diego San Francisco Cleveland New Haven, Conn. Waterville, Maine London Munich Richard M. Stapleton, Editor in Chief Patricia Hemminger, Ph.D., Associate Editor Susan L. Senecah, Ph.D., Associate Editor 2004 by Macmillan Reference USA. Macmillan Reference USA is an imprint of The Gale Group, Inc., a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Macmillan...

Renewed Sense of Commitment

Environmentalists were rallying for more stringent enforcement of environmental policies, but the Reagan administration failed to express the same level of enthusiasm and support that had characterized the Nixon and Carter presidencies. Economic and political decisions that once involved environmental organizations now seemed to undermine the very spirit and intent of NEPA by sidelining environmental efforts. The membership ranks of environmental groups grew in response to these political...

Sources of Indoor Pollution

Indoor Pollution Source

There are various sources of indoor air pollutants in any building. A partial list of common sources is given in the table. Several types of combustion sources release inorganic gaseous pollutants, formaldehyde, suspended par-ticulates that can be breathed, and other toxic chemicals. Tobacco products also release a mixture of over 4,000 compounds. HEALTH SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS Shortness of breath or bronchial asthma Irritation and infection of respiratory...

Categories of Carcinogenicity

Substances or agents that cause cancer are called carcinogens. The more likely something is to cause cancer, the more carcinogenic it is. Cigarette smoke is more carcinogenic than chlorinated community drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies carcinogenicity into five categories. A category A substance is known to cause cancer in humans, generally based on epidemiological (large population) data showing sufficient evidence to support a causal association between...

Antinuclear Movement

I am become death, the shatterer of worlds. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, muttered these Hindu words after the initial successful test of the new weapon during the summer of 1945. Although Oppenheimer's scientific expertise produced the bomb, he grew increasingly uneasy over its application and destructive power. Oppenheimer became the first of a long line of antinuclear activists and scientists to protest nuclear weapons and nuclear power. In the early 1950s, the United...

An Age of Abundance

At the end of World War II, the United States underwent rapid economic growth. The postwar abundance could be easily pinpointed by the mass consumption of everything from energy and detergents to plastics and pesticides. Goods were created and marketed to provide convenience, and amenities were plentiful. As Samuel Hays observed, a greater distance between consumption and its environmental consequences increasingly depersonalized the links between the two (Hays, p. 16). If people couldn't see...

Agencies Regulatory

There are large numbers of federal and state agencies in the United States that have been authorized by Congress or state legislatures to implement and enforce environmental laws. As a general matter, environmental regulatory agencies are responsible for establishing maximum allowable levels of pollutants in air, water, and soil to protect human health and the environment, and for developing programs to achieve such levels of protection. Most environmental regulatory programs are carried out...

Environmental Crime

Environmental crime is a relatively new concept in U.S. and international law thus, it is still being defined. In a general sense, an environmental crime is any violation of an environmental regulation for which criminal liability may be imposed. Almost all of the major environmental regulations in the United States contain provisions that establish criminal liability under certain circumstances, and most of these liability provisions are mirrored in state statutes. Criminal enforcement of...

Hazardous Waste

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, defines hazardous waste as a liquid, solid, sludge, or containerized gas waste substance that due to its quantity, concentration, or chemical properties may cause significant threats to human health or the environment if managed improperly. U.S. legislation considers a waste hazardous if it is corrosive, flammable, unstable, or toxic. Sources of hazardous waste may include industry, research, medical, household, chemical...

Hazardous Waste Production in the United States

Facilities that produce hazardous waste, usually as a result of an industrial process, are considered large-quantity generators LQG or small-quantity generators SQG depending on the quantities produced. Hazardous waste may be transported to alternate locations to be treated, stored, or disposed of, or may be managed at the place of generation. In 1995, 20,873 LQGs produced 214 million tons of hazardous waste regulated by RCRA. There were 3,489 fewer LQGs and a reduction of 44 million tons of...

Incineration

Incineration is the thermal destruction of waste. It is as old as throwing food wastes on a wood fire, and in many developing nations, garbage is still routinely burned in drums and boxes on city streets. Modern incineration systems use high temperatures, controlled air, and excellent mixing to change the chemical, physical, or biological character or composition of waste materials. The new systems are equipped with state-of-the-art air pollution control devices to capture particulate and...

Injection Well

Sedimentary related to or formed by deposition of many small particles to form a solid layer porosity degree to which soil, gravel, sediment, or rock is permeated with pores or cavities through which water or air can move impermeable not easily penetrated the property of a material or soil that does not allow, or allows only with great difficulty, the movement or passage of water aquifer an underground geological formation, or group of formations, containing water are sources of groundwater for...

Effectiveness of Ecoterrorism and Law Enforcement Response

Eco Terrorism

By financial standards, ecoterrorists have been very effective. ELF's campaign of property destruction has cost some 43 million since 1996, including the 1998 firebombing of the Vail, Colorado, ski resort that resulted in 12 million in damage. It has also generated considerable media attention in order to air its grievances. However, ELF has been less successful at stopping or slowing the development it seeks to prevent. In fact, those who have had property destroyed often feel a renewed...

Chemical Pollution

In 1984, 30 tons of lethal methyl isocyanate gas were released into the air in Bhopal, India, from a Union Carbide plant. Thousands of people (estimates range from 2,500 to well over 8,000) died immediately. Deaths and disabilities continued to plague the populace for years following what was termed, at the time, the worst industrial accident in history. A year later, in Institute, West Virginia, another Union Carbide plant released toxic gas into the atmosphere, resulting in illnesses among...

Nuclear Submarines

Central Nuclear

On August 12, 2000, an explosion in a torpedo tube sank the giant Russian nuclear submarine Kursk and its crew of 118 in the Barents Sea. Russian officials described the sinking as a catastrophe that developed at lightning speed. A week later, divers opened the rear hatch of the sub but found no survivors. It took salvagers two years, but the Kursk and her two nuclear reactors was raised. The Kursk was the sixth nuclear submarine to have sunk since 1963. The others all came to rest on the ocean...

Responses to Climate Change

These effects are likely to be beneficial in some places, but disruptive in most, and as a consequence, governments around the world have begun planning responses to climate change. These fall into two categories mitigation, which involves taking action to prevent climate change (usually by cutting greenhouse gas emissions) and adaptation, which involves adapting to the effects as and after they happen. For example, if sea levels rise in the next century due to thermal expansion of the oceans,...

Environmental Business Costs

Environmental advancements have been made over the past 150 years regarding industrial behavior. In the past, companies had been able to regard the air, land, and water as free goods. Often, companies saw the pollution they generated as something they could externalize. That is, since air, land, and water pollution usually affects areas that businesses do not own, then it was not their responsibility to address and consequently there was no need to increase costs in order to limit their wastes....

Pollution Abatement

Sulfur and nitrogen are captured by passing the hot gases from the combustion chamber through filters and water baths or by selective catalytic converters, thus removing them from the heat passed up the smokestack. The fine ash from the burning process is also filtered by a huge vacuum system with bags able to filter particles as fine as face powder. The concern about emissions of mercury is leading to the design of new systems capable of capturing the mercury vapor before it is released from...

Carbon Dioxide

Biomass all of the living material in a given area often refers to vegetation anthropogenic human-made related to or produced by the influence of humans on nature afforestation conversion of open land to forest afforestation conversion of open land to forest Chemical structure of carbon dioxide (CO2). Chemical structure of carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a nontoxic, odorless, and colorless gas present in trace concentrations in the atmosphere. The molecule is linear with a central...

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Operating barbeque grill in enclosed area such as the Auto exhaust fumes from attached garage 1 Placement of carbon monoxide (CO) detector exchanger Improperly installed or faulty gas clothes dryer, furnace or water heater Leaking, cracked, corroded or disconnected flue or vent pipes engines (boats and lawn mowers), charcoal and wood fires, agricultural burning, and tobacco smoke. CO is classified as an indirect greenhouse gas. It does not contribute to global warming directly, but leads to the...

CFCs Chlorofluorocarbons

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), once described as miracle chemicals, cause the breakdown of the ozone layer that protects the earth from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. CFCs have no significant natural sources. They were first manufactured in the 1930s, and industries soon found a wide variety of applications for them due to their chemical unreactivity and heat-absorbing properties. CFCs have been used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators, in aerosol spray cans, in...

GIS Geographic Information System

A geographic information system (GIS) is an integrated computer system that allows the storage, mapping, manipulation, and analysis of geographic or spatial data. It can present many different layers of information, all of which may be turned on or off depending on the user's needs. Several components are required for a GIS to function properly. A GIS typically consists of computer hardware, software, and the people operating the system, as well as the spatial or geographic data being...

Public Perception

The public is becoming increasingly aware of the interactions and conflicts between industry and the environment. Events such as the 1989 oil spill from the tanker Exxon Valdez off Prince William Sound in Alaska one of the most publicized and studied environmental tragedies have highlighted the growing significance of maintaining a healthy environment while improving how corporations operate. Business responses to environmental influences fall within a wide spectrum of actions and inactions. On...

Unchanged Industry Behavior

Sometimes, polluting companies have not succumbed to social, political, and governmental pressures. Several companies have denied responsibility for pollution even when faced with strong evidence to the contrary. Other companies, after admitting responsibility, promise strong action, but deliver nothing. Still other companies have performed admirably when it comes to being environmentally friendly. However, industry, for the most part, is only responding to the general demand for a higher...

Going Global Going Simple

As the ideas voiced by environmental activists entered the mainstream, so too did a sense that those voices should also represent the mainstream. Groups such as Greenpeace have begun to examine the diversity of their own membership, which has traditionally been dominated by white males. Women have steadily joined, and a separate philosophical position known as ecofem-inism appeals to both environmental activists and representatives of longstanding women's groups. By recruiting women as well as...

Biosolids Remediate Metalcontaminated Soils

Biosolids Secondary Treatment

The mining and processing of metal ores have contaminated soils in many countries. In the vicinity of lead Pb and zinc Zn mines and smelters, soils may have Pb and Zn concentrations as high as 20,000 mg kg. These soils with their high metals, low pH, and lack of nutrients and organic matter are toxic to plants. Land around the mines is acidic and barren, often with blowing dust and metals leaching into ground and surface waters. Three such sites on EPA's Superfund list Palmerton, Pennsylvania...

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter in an automobile is an expanded section of exhaust pipe occurring upstream of the muffler in which pollutants generated in the engine are converted to normal atmospheric gases. It is an essential element in the emissions control system of modern automobiles. This technology was introduced in the United States in the late 1970s and became legally required by the early 1980s because of more stringent exhaust emission control standards. Early catalyst systems, as applied to...

The s Silence and Shouting

In 1962 American biologist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, an account of the environmental damage that had been caused by widespread use of the pesticide DDT. Like Thoreau, Carson was regarded by many critics as little more than a philosophical and scientific crank. But Carson's book put forth serious charges in scientific detail. The use of DDT had been hailed for saving millions of lives in Europe by killing insects that spread typhus and malaria. At the same time, she pointed out,...

Types of Incinerators

The Liquid Injection Incinerators

Waste incinerators are used to destroy solids, sludges, liquids, and tars. Depending upon the physical, chemical characteristics of the waste and the refractory resistant to heat difficult to melt also to authority handling they require, different incinerator designs will be applied. Solids, sludges, and tars are incinerated in fixed-hearth and rotary kiln incinerators. Liquids may also be burned in these systems and used as support fuel. In many plants where liquids are the primary wastes,...

The New National Agenda

If the 1960s arrived with a compelling or infamous start, it exited in the same fashion. In 1967 an oil tanker off of Great Britain ran aground, spilling 40,000 tons of oil. Attempts to contain the accident and salvage the remaining oil were useless. The tanker spilled another 77,000 tons of oil that washed Crew of the Japanese whaling ship Kyo Maru 1 using water cannons to disperse activists during an antiwhaling demonstration in the waters of the Antarctic Ocean, December 16, 2001. ( AFP...

Trends in Losses and Casualties

The worldwide picture of disasters shows that death tolls are fairly stable, although not significantly decreasing, but losses are rising steeply. Social, economic, and military instability coupled with high rates of population growth fuel increases in the casualties and hardship caused by natural disasters in developing countries. Since the early 1990s much attention has been focused on the complex emergency, in which persistent warfare, particularly of the low-intensity guerrilla kind, leads...

Bioaccumulation

Biomagnification Pcb

Bioaccumulation is the accumulation of contaminants by species in concentrations that are orders of magnitude higher than in the surrounding environment. Bioaccumulation is the sum of two processes bioconcentration and bio-magnification. Bioconcentration is the direct uptake of a substance by a living organism from the medium (e.g., water) via skin, gills, or lungs, whereas biomagnification results from dietary uptake. Many synthetic contaminants are more soluble in fat than in water....

Air Pollutants

In general, air pollutants are divided into two classes those for which a NAAQS may be set in other words, the criteria pollutants , and those for which NAAQS are not appropriate the HAPs . If the ambient concentration of the criteria pollutants is kept below the NAAQS value, then there will be no health damage due to air pollution. The HAP mostly known or suspected carcinogens , on the other hand, are those that, even in low concentrations, cause significant damage. Particulate Matter....

Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pollution became a major problem with the introduction of the steam engine and a series of technological advances that led to the production of goods shifting from homes and small factories to large industrial factories. The invention of more productive processes to manufacture cotton textiles contributed greatly to the number of mills located in England, and later in the northeastern United States. The steam engine...

Addams Jane

Jane Addams (1860-1935) is remembered primarily as the feisty American founder of the Settlement House Movement, which sought to challenge the industrial and urban order of the period to achieve social and environmental reforms. Inspired by a visit to London's East End and Toynbee Hall, a settlement house addressing the needs of the urban poor, Addams and her friend Ellen Starr cofounded Hull House in the slums of Chicago in 1889. Hull House became the central organizing hub and political force...

Industry and Environment

Suppose you are the owner of a manufacturing plant. You need large amounts of fuel to keep your plant running. To maximize your profits, you would like to purchase this fuel very cheaply. The cheapest option would be if the energy company could take the fuel straight from the ground and sell it to you as is. But fossil fuels must be processed before they can be used. Petroleum products must go to the refinery to be separated into various components such as gasoline and diesel fuel, and...

The Politics of Energy

Because the conditions necessary for the creation of fossil fuels varied geographically throughout the earth's history, fossil fuels are not distributed evenly around the globe. Significant concentrations of oil occur in the Middle East, the North Sea, Russia, Texas, and Alaska, for example. Countries that control the world's access to oil have economic power over countries that need their oil, which can lead to political tensions. The energy crisis cre ated by the OPEC (Organization of the...

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a ratio of energy input to useful energy output, often expressed as a percentage. It measures how much energy of one kind is converted into usable energy of another kind. Incandescent light bulbs convert just 5 percent of the electrical energy they use to light, whereas the energy efficiency of compact fluorescent bulbs is between 15 and 20 percent. Power plants fueled by natural gas convert up to 50 percent of their heat energy to electrical energy, compared to about 38...

Fossil Fuels

Coal, petroleum, and natural gas are referred to as fossil fuels. Their common origin is as living matter, plants, and, in particular, microorganisms that have accumulated in large quantities under favorable conditions during the earth's long history. They have been preserved (fossilized) through burial under younger sediments, to great depths and over many millions of years. The organic elements hydrogen (H) and carbon (C) are the primary source of their heat content (hence the derivation of...

Industrial Ecology

Contaminated Building Reuse Architecture

Industrial ecology aims to reduce the environmental impact of industry by examining material and energy flows in products, processes, industrial sectors, and economies. Industrial ecology provides a long-term perspective, encouraging consideration of the overall development of both technologies and policies for sustainable resource utilization and environmental protection into the future. It emphasizes opportunities for new technologies and new processes, and those for economically beneficial...

Deterrent Enforcement vs Cooperative Enforcement

In the 1990s, a controversy arose regarding the most effective and appropriate approach to enforcing environmental laws in the United States. One view favors deterrent enforcement, which is based on the premise that regulated entities will comply with environmental standards when economic (and other) costs of noncompliance are greater than those of compliance. Under this approach, the task for environmental regulators is to make noncompli-ance penalties sufficiently high, and the probability...

Comparative Democratic Governments

The movement to harmonize legislation and open borders in Europe under the European Union (EU) is a confederated system similar to the THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT The Legislature The branch of government that proposes and enacts laws. Usually comprised of one or more chambers or houses, whose members are usually elected, though sometimes they may be appointed. A legislature debates and decides what laws to enact. In the United States, the national legislature, the U.S. Congress, has two houses...

Heavy Metals

The heavy metals, which include copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), and chromium (Cr), are common trace constituents in the earth crust. Their concentrations in the ambient environment have increased dramatically since the Industrial Revolution, as have lead and copper since Roman times. Many of these metals play an essential role in human physiology. For example, the enzymes that synthesize DNA and RNA contain zinc ions, and cobalt is an integral part of...

Conserving Energy

In light of the depletion of nonrenewable resources, it is important that we try to conserve energy whenever possible. Because the transformation of fuel into useful energy inevitably creates pollutants, we must reduce our energy consumption to reduce pollution. Using your air conditioner less during the summer by setting the thermostat higher can reduce the demand for electricity experienced by your energy provider. Your energy provider can burn less fossil fuel and still meet the needs of its...

Endocrine Disruption

Hormone a molecule released by one cell to regulate development of another hormone receptors cell proteins that respond to hormones to influence cell behavior fetus unborn young of vertebrate animals human developing child in the womb from eighth week to birth metabolism physical and chemical reactions within a cell or organism necessary for maintaining life In 1971 doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital reported high rates of unusual cancers of the vagina in teenage girls. Researchers...

Emergency Planning and Community Rightto Know

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act EPCRA is also known as SARA Title III since it was enacted as a freestanding law included in the SuperfUnd Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 SARA . This law obligates facilities to provide local, state, and federal agencies with information on hazardous materials stored or in use at the premises. EPCRA covers four key issues emergency response planning, emergency release notification, reporting hazardous chemical storage, and toxic...

Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice Idiots

Environmental justice is broader in scope than environmental equity (equal treatment and protection under statutes, regulations, and practices), emphasizing the right to a safe and healthy environment for all people, and incorporating physical, social, political, and economic under the heading of environments. It is also a less incendiary term than environmental racism, which can be intentional or unintentional, and suggests discrimination in A rally before the march to Laidlaw dump in...

Dean Of The Modern Environmental Movement

Often called Earth's best friend, David Ross Brower built a fire under the environmental community and kept it stoked for more than half a century. Sound-bite genius, both gracious and fierce, Brower was a master organizer, and his story is the story of the modern environmental movement. During seven decades of environmental activism, Brower helped transform the Sierra Club from a small, genteel group of hikers to a powerhouse political force and helped found more than thirty environmental...

Green Party

The Green Party movement is rooted in sustainable environmental democracy, which derives historically from the early confederacy of five Native-American nations in New York state called the Iroquois Confederacy. The confederacy was matriarchal, cooperative, tribal, and regionally based. As Donella and Dennis Meadows note in their book Beyond the Limits (1993), the concepts of environmental stewardship and intergenerational sustain-ability originated in the confederacy. American revolutionaries...

Control of Indoor Air Pollution

Basic approaches to control indoor air pollution include source control, source isolation, increased ventilation, dehumidification, and the use of filters (see the table). Possible sources of contamination are eliminated in a source-control strategy. Examples include banning smoking in public buildings, using carefully selected building materials to avoid the emission of toxic or irritating substances, and limiting the use of fibrous materials. Source-isolation strategy is used in situations...

Cryptosporidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis (also referred to as Crypto) is a gastrointestinal illness that results from exposure to the organism Cryptosporidium parvum (C. parvum). Cryptosporidiosis rose to public attention in the United States in 1993 when more than 100 people died and more than 400,000 people were sickened by Crypto in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cryptosporidiosis is primarily a waterborne illness. People get infected from drinking inadequately treated drinking water, or from swallowing or drinking...

Indoor Air Pollutants from Other Household Activities

From time to time, homeowners complete a variety of remodeling projects to improve the aesthetic look of their house. These include new flooring, basement remodeling, hanging new cabinets, removing asbestos sheets, scraping off old paint (which might contain lead), and the removal or application of wallpaper. Such activities could be a significant source of indoor air pollutants during and after the project. Asbestos, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene, chloroform, trichloroethane and other...

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated pest management (IPM) refers to strategies used to minimize the application of chemical pesticides and to combat plant pests, such as insects and other arthropods, pathogens, nematodes, weeds, and certain vertebrates, without incurring economic plant damage. All plant pests (as well as other life-forms) have natural enemies, and the use of such biological control agents is commonly thought to form the basis of IPM. Biological control can be practiced through the introduction,...

Selfregulating Economic System

Another concept that affects pollution is the self-regulating economic system. Under ideal conditions all the information necessary for making the best decisions is known. If a manufacturer made a product with thorough knowledge of all costs of production, including environmental costs, then ideal decisions could be made. But, of course, this is not possible. The efficiency of the competitive market depends on private costs such as direct manufacturing expenses and social costs such as...

Energy Efficiency in Industry and Transportation

Increasing energy efficiency conserves fossil fuels, cuts down on pollution, and saves money. Steam turbine power plants reduce their energy or heat loss by insulating pipes and by returning condensed steam to the boiler for reheating. New combined-cycle plants increase energy efficiency by using hot exhaust from gas turbines to produce steam for steam turbines in the same plant. On-site electricity generators often increase energy efficiency by cogeneration, or by combined heat and power...

Ehrlich Paul

Paul Ehrlich

AMERICAN WRITER, PROFESSOR OF ENTOMOLOGY AND HUMAN In 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb, which argued that human population growth was the root cause of society's environmental problems. Written in just three weeks, the book was a modern redefinition of the Malthusian hypothesis. Curiously, Ehrlich never mentioned Malthus in his book. The Population Bomb became one of the best-selling environmental books of all time. Its main message was that continued population growth would place...

Composting

Composting Process Flow Diagrams

Decomposed biosolids (e.g., leaves, crop residue, animal waste) have long been used to recycle plant nutrients and enhance soil fertility. It is one of the Barry Commoner speaks to protesters outside a hotel in New Jersey where Exxon stockholders met in 1989. (Corbis-Bettmann. Reproduced by permission.) humus rich soil component derived from plant breakdown and bacterial action most ancient of agricultural innovations, as is evidenced by an ancient Telgu proverb Leaf manure produces luxuriant...

Crusade for Reform

As the nation grew, the gap between people and the natural environment was widening. The introduction of railroads, telegraphs, and stockyards, helped transform cities into major industrial centers. Populations within cities increased, as immigrants flocked to them seeking employment. The resulting noise, grit, and industrial waste compelled women in the cities to take action. In Chicago, social worker Jane Addams was prepared to do just that. Coupled with the efforts of Alice Hamilton and Mary...

Water Pollution

That is why most human settlements always began near a water source. Conflicts over control of such sources started in ancient times and continue today, as evident in the Middle East, for example. Israel's National Water Carrier project was the target of attacks by neighboring Arab countries and an escalating factor in the tensions that led to the 1967 Six-Day War. Unfortunately, the importance of clean water was not understood until the second half of the nineteenth...

Bottle Deposit Laws

Bottle deposit laws, policy that requires the containers for carbonated beverages such as soft drinks and beer to carry a refundable deposit, have been a subject of controversy for more than thirty years. Designed to reduce waste by motivating more people to recycle bottles and cans, the strategy imposes a mandatory fee of usually five or ten cents per container that consumers pay at the cash register when customers return the containers to stores selling the product or redemption centers, they...

The Development of the US Government

The first U.S. government, established in 1781, was a treaty of friendship called The Articles of Confederation. This treaty among independent nation states (the thirteen colonies) allowed each state to establish its own laws, coin its own money, and tax import goods. Jointly, each state was obliged to assist the others in defense and to pay a share of the Revolutionary War costs. Common laws were to be enacted only when state delegates to a Congress agreed on them unanimously. There was no...

Coal Mining and Pollution

Coal is recovered from the ground either by underground or surface mining. Underground mining creates voids over many square miles. Two basically different methods are used longwall and room-and-pillar mining. In longwall mining all coal is recovered from the mined panels hence, subsidence occurs at the surface almost immediately and it is planned for. Room-and-pillar mining leaves about half of the coal in the ground as pillars to support the surface and prevent subsidence. However, subsidence...

Infectious Waste

Infectious waste is that portion of medical waste that is contaminated with pathogens that may be able to transmit an infectious disease it is also referred to as regulated medical waste. Infectious waste represents a small percentage (usually between 5 and 15 percent) of a health care facility's total waste stream. In the United States each state defines and sets standards for management, treatment and disposal of infectious waste. Most definitions concur that the following wastes should be...

Case Studies

The Summitville Mine in Colorado has become a case study of environmental damage as a result of mining. Gold was mined there from 1870 until 1992. In 1994 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared the area a Superfund site. Some of the following events affected the environment at the mine Geologic characteristics at the mine site contributed to the generation of both natural and mining-related acid drainage the height of the containing ecosystem the interacting system of a...

Green Marketing

Green marketing is a way to use the environmental benefits of a product or service to promote sales. Many consumers will choose products that do not damage the environment over less environmentally friendly products, even if they cost more. With green marketing, advertisers focus on environmental benefits to sell products such as biodegradable diapers, energy-efficient light bulbs, and environmentally safe detergents. People buy billions of dollars worth of goods and services every year many...

Groundwater

Groundwater is the water that exists below the land surface and fills the spaces between sediment grains and fractures in rocks. A geologic formation saturated with groundwater is considered to be an aquifer if it is sufficiently permeable as to allow the groundwater to be economically extracted. It is replenished naturally through the infiltration of rainfall and artificially through the irrigation of crops. Soluble chemicals in rainwater (like NOx in acid rain) or at the land surface (like...

Sustainable Agriculture

There are numerous, diverse, and increasing demands on agriculture in the twenty-first century. In addition to meeting the demands for the economic production of food, feed, fiber, and fuel, agriculture of the twenty-first century must also address environmental concerns, especially in regard to water quality and the accelerated greenhouse effect. Soil is a biofilter, and a reduction in the thickness of the topsoil layer through erosion has a direct negative effect on the buffering and...

Three Mile Island

The thriller China Syndrome, which warned that a nuclear power plant meltdown would blow a hole through the earth all the way to China and render an area the size of Pennsylvania permanently uninhabitable had been playing for eleven days when, at 4 00 am on March 28, 1979, Reactor 2 at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant suffered a partial meltdown. The plant was just downriver from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Film story, reality, and perception all interplayed to create near national...

Four Market System Goals

All economic systems that are formulated by various economists consider four central objectives efficiency, equity, stability, and growth. Efficiency and equity concern the processes of production and consumption and are concepts that fall under microeconomics . Stability and growth apply to the overall performance of an economy and are concepts that fall under macroeconomics . When analyzed economically with regard to pollution or any other subject , these four goals must be considered as...

Nuclear and Alternative Fuels

Nuclear energy is not based on combustion of fuel. Rather, the energy is released as unstable radioactive compounds decay into more stable forms. For example, radioactive uranium 238 decays to uranium 235, releasing energy in the process. This energy can be used to heat water without burning coal or oil, so its use is therefore cleaner. However, radiation emitted in the event of an accident at a nuclear power plant could harm people and wildlife and contaminate the food supply. Nuclear waste,...

Waste Minimization and Recycling

Recycling and waste minimization may be the best ways to deal with hazardous waste. Waste minimization reduces the volume of waste generated, whereas recycling means that less hazardous waste requires disposal. Techniques for waste minimization may include audits, better inventory management, production process equipment modifications, and operational maintenance procedures. Raw material changes, volume reductions, nonhaz-ardous material substitutions, reuse, or recovery also reduce hazardous...

Donora Pennsylvania

Temperature inversion temporary trapping of lower warm air by higher cold air The towns of Donora and Webster, Pennsylvania, along the Monongahela River southwest of Pittsburgh, were the site of a lethal air pollution disaster in late October 1948 that convinced members of the scientific and medical communities, as well as the public, that air pollution could kill people, as well as cause serious damage to health. The disaster took place over the course of five days, when weather conditions...

Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution is the presence of one or more contaminants indoors that carry a certain degree of human health risk. Indoor air issues may be traced to the beginning of civilization. Prehistoric records note the problem of smoke in caves. However, over the last three decades the public has become more aware of indoor air pollution. Various studies show that people spend 65 to 90 percent of their time indoors 65 percent of that time is spent at home. Field studies of human exposure to air...

The s Managing in the Mainstream

When the environment initially entered the forum of public discussion in the 1960s, many of its ideas were profoundly novel. Some people did not welcome or even understand the argument that a river flowing in the uninhabited wild could be more important to human existence indirectly than a dam that could deliver power directly to millions of human beings. Today many of us still have difficulty accepting the premise that a seldom-seen plant or animal might play a part in the global ecosystem...

Ishimure Michiko

The methyl-mercury poisoning in Minamata Bay first became apparent in 1953, with sick children and dancing cats, cats so frenzied they would dance and die. Initially it was thought that this was a contagious disease, and the victims were spurned by other villagers. It became obvious in the late 1950s that the release of methyl mercury from the Chisso chemical plant in Minamata Bay had caused high levels of mercury in fish, which resulted in the health problems of the local community, especially...

Chemicals in Household Products and Their Effects

Many household products like detergents, furniture polish, disinfectants, deodorizers, paints, stain removers, and even cosmetics release chemicals that may be harmful to human health as well as cause environmental concerns see the table, Household Products and Their Potential Health Effects . Insecticides, pesticides, weed killers, and fertilizers that are used for maintaining one's lawn and garden are another source of household pollution. Their entry into the house could occur through air...

Cancer Clusters

The study of disease clusters is one method scientists use to study the public health implications of carcinogens. A cancer cluster is defined as a greater-than-expected number of cancer cases that occurs within a group of people in a geographic area over a specific period of time. Studies of suspected cancer clusters usually focus on heredity and environment. Such clusters may be suspected when people report that several family members, friends, neighbors, or coworkers have been diagnosed with...

Use of Information

Environmental management is a shared responsibility of the public, business, and government. The public continuously makes consumer choices such as where to reside and what herbicides to use based on available information. Citizens also participate as partners in local pollution monitoring and environmental restoration projects. Businesses use pollution data to improve competitiveness through better manufacturing practices. Governments use the data for advancing the scientific understanding of...

Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act CERCLA

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was established in 1980 by Congress. CERCLA's objective was to provide a regulatory mechanism in response to threats to human health or the environment from abandoned hazardous waste sites. Passage of CERCLA was heavily influenced by events at Love Canal, New York, where toxic chemicals oozing from an abandoned hazardous waste dump forced the abandonment of homes and a public school. Under CERCLA, the...

Disposal Options and Problems

Disposal options for hazardous waste include landfills, injection wells, incineration, and bioremediation, as well as several others. The greatest concern with the disposal of hazardous waste in landfills or injection wells is that toxic substances will leak into surrounding groundwater. Groundwater is a major source of drinking water worldwide and once it is contaminated, pollutants are extremely difficult and costly to remove. In some instances, it is impossible to remove groundwater...

The Endocrine Disrupter Controversy

Emberi Szervek

The theory that chemicals in the environment may be disrupting hormones and causing health problems in wildlife and humans was first published in 1992. Since that time, the general concept of endocrine disruption has gone from a radical theory to an accepted fact. Scientists agree that some chemicals mimic or block hormonal effects, that wildlife populations in some contaminated areas have been affected by the endocrine-disrupting effects of chemicals in the environment, and that some humans...

Air Pollution

The growth of population centers coupled with the switch from wood-burning to coal-burning fires created clouds of smoke over cities as early as the eleventh century. Air pollution regulations first appeared in England in 1273, but for the next several centuries, attempts at controlling the burning of coal met with notable failure. The problem was not confined to London, nor was it confined to England. As the Industrial Revolution swept across countries, and as coal became common in private...

Green Chemistry

The term green chemistry, coined in 1991, is defined as the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. This approach to the protection of human health and the environment represents a significant departure from the traditional methods previously used. Although historically societies have tried to minimize exposure to chemicals, green chemistry emphasizes the design and creation of chemicals that are not hazardous to people...

The s The Pendulum Swings

Julia Hill Redwood

Just as the protests of the 1960s gave way to a more orderly environmental agenda in the 1970s, this agenda took a decidedly different turn in the 1980s. The decade opened with Congress introducing the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), known as Greenpeace members handcuffed together and sitting on steel drums similar to toxic waste drums outside of the Mexican Office of Environmental Protection, calling attention to the toxic waste disposal facility...

Cancer Alley Louisiana

In 1987 some residents in the tiny community of St. Gabriel, Louisiana, called Jacobs Drive, the street on which they lived, cancer alley because there were fifteen cancer victims in a two-block stretch. Half a mile away, there were seven cancer victims living on one block. The eighty-five-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to New Orleans was formerly referred to as the petrochemical corridor but after reports of numerous cases of cancer occurring in the small rural...

Organization of the Material

As its title would suggest, Pollution A to Z is organized alphabetically with 264 articles presented in two volumes. Articles are cross-referenced. Authors were aware of (and sometimes wrote) related articles and, for the fullest understanding, the reader is encouraged to explore at least one level beyond the subject first selected. This is made easier with the inclusion of cross-references at the end of many articles. You will find that articles are balanced between hard science and social...

Disasters Oil Spills

Seep movement of substance often a pollutant from a source into surrounding areas Liquid petroleum crude oil and its refined products such as tar, lubricating oil, gasoline, and kerosene can be released as catastrophic spills from point sources e.g., from tankers and blowouts or as chronic discharges typically from nonpoint sources e.g., from urban runoff or fallout from the atmosphere . Releases of petroleum into the environment occur naturally from seeps as well as from human sources....

Land Pollution

At the beginning of the twentieth century, William T. Love imagined a model community in New York, on the edge of Niagara Falls. Love dug a canal to supply water power to what he envisioned would be a combination of industrial and residential areas in his community. Love was unable to complete his project. During the 1920s the canal he dug was turned into a landfill operated by the Hooker Chemical Company. In 1953 Hooker sold the site to the Niagara Falls Board of Education for 1, with the...

Avoiding Exposure and the Use of Green Products

There are several steps one can take to reduce exposure to household chemicals. An adjacent table provides a list of alternative products. One can bring unused and potentially harmful household products to a nearby chemical The styrene-butadiene (SB) latex backing that is used on most new carpets is a source of styrene and 4-phenyl cyclohexene (4-PC). Styrene is a known toxic and suspected carcinogen. 4-PC is not known to be toxic, and it continues to be emitted at measurable levels for a...