W

Waechter, Antoine, 2 120 Wald, Lillian, 2 203 Walden, 2 327 Walden Pond, 1 7 Wales, Industrial Revolution pollution in, 1 282 See also United Kingdom Wall Street Journal, 1 9, 2 198 Ward, Bud, 2 36, 2 37 Warren County, North Carolina, 1 198, 1 209, 2 287-288 Warrick, Joby, 2 36 Wars, 2 281-287, 2 282, 2 283, 2 284, 2 285 Warsaw Pact, defined, 1 94 Washington Post, 2 36 Waste disposal 1 200, 1 231 of medical wastes, 2 39-40 of radioactive wastes, 2 163-166 See also Hazardous waste disposal...

International Nature of the Problem

Air pollution and the problems it causes are not confined by any geopolitical boundaries. For example, the radioactive cloud resulting from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 traveled as far as Ireland. A United Nations report warns that haze produced by the burning of wood and fossil fuels is creating a two-mile-thick Asian browncloud that covers southeastern Asia and may be responsible for hundreds of thousands of respiratory deaths a year. In the United States, federal pollution laws and...

Classification of Air Pollutants

Not all pollutants are a result of human activity. Natural pollutants are those that are found in nature or are emitted from natural sources. For example, volcanic activity produces sulfur dioxide, and particulate pollution may derive from forest fires or windblown dust. Anthropogenic pollutants are those that are produced by humans or controlled processes. For example, sulfur dioxide is produced by fossil fuel combustion and particulate matter comes from diesel engines. Air pollutants also are...

Air Pollution

Excess death deaths over the expected number Air pollution is a phenomenon by which particles (solid or liquid) and gases contaminate the environment. Such contamination can result in health effects on the population, which might be either chronic (arising from long-term exposure), or acute (due to accidents). Other effects of pollution include damage to materials (e.g., the marble statues on the Parthenon are corroded as a result of air pollution in the city of Athens), agricultural damage...

Agriculture and the Environment

Inappropriate land use, soil mismanagement (especially the practice of plowing and growing monoculture with the subsequent need for large amounts of pesticides), and the adoption of fertility-mining practices can have adverse impacts on the environment, including the eutrophication of surface water, contamination of ground water, and emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from agricultural ecosystems into the atmosphere. Processes that lead to environmental pollution include accelerated erosion,...

Traditional Agricultural Systems

Demands for an increase in food production were initially met by expanding the area being cultivated or horizontal expansion. The cropland area increased from 265 million hectares (Mha) prior to the Industrial Revolution in 1700 to 1,500 Mha in 1980, representing an increase of 5.7 times in less than three centuries. (One hectare equals 2.47 acres.) The scarcity of new land for crop production necessitated increasing crop production per unit area and time from the same land. This need for...

Bibliography

Environmental Law Examples and Explanations, 2nd edition. New York Aspen. Government Institutes. (1994). How EPA Works A Guide to EPA Organization and Functions. Rockville, MD. Information Resource Management. (1995 1996). United States Environmental Protection Agency, Access EPA 220-B-95-004. Lovei, Magda, and Weiss, Charles, Jr. (1998). Management and Institutions in OECD Countries Lessons from Experience. Washington, DC World Bank. Moya, Olga L., and Fono, Andrew L....

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...

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...

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...

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...

Violent Turns

Some members of Greenpeace had seen the conservative backlash coming even before the presidential election of 1980. According to Canadian member Paul Watson, the essential response had to be increasingly militant protest actions. Among other things, he did not want merely to scare away whalers by filming them he advocated placing explosives on the hulls of their ships in order to cripple their livelihood. Greenpeace rejected such tactics, and in 1977 it rejected him as well. He formed his own...

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...

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...

Brownfield

Surface water all water naturally open to the atmosphere (rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, streams, seas, estuaries, etc.) groundwater the supply of freshwater found beneath the Earth's surface includes aquifers, which supply wells and springs A brownfield is a property which was once was home to a viable commercial or industrial operation but, because there is no longer an adequate market demand for that operation, the property sits idle, partially because of possible environmental...

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...

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...

Evaluating Risks and Benefits

U.S. biosolids quality standards are based on risk assessments conducted by scientists at the EPA and the Department of Agriculture. After evaluating the pollutants in biosolids, scientists selected nine elements that had the greatest potential to harm humans, livestock, wildlife, or the environment. They used risk assessments to calculate the permissible increases in soil and crop pollutant levels from repeated applications of biosolids. The regulatory standards (see table) were then set below...

Using or Disposing of Biosolids

Biosolids must be recycled or disposed of somewhere in the environment. The 1993 Federal Sewage Sludge (biosolids) Standards define and regulate the three legal ways to manage biosolids They can be incinerated, buried in a landfill, or recycled on land. Incineration This is the method of disposal preferred by some eastern U.S. cities. Energy produced from burning biosolids can be captured and converted to electricity. Incinerators require technology to prevent the release of particulates and...

Biosolids

Biosolids are nutrient-rich organic materials that result from the treatment of wastewater. They are commonly recycled as a fertilizer for crops and as a soil amendment to improve depleted soils. However, because biosolids have low levels of pollutants and pathogenic organisms, their use in the U.S. is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Managing biosolids safely and effectively is an important issue for communities because of the quantities that are produced. The EPA...

The Energy Star Program

One way in which individuals and business managers can increase energy efficiency is by using Energy Star products. Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program, introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992, that identifies energy-efficient products. Manufacturers must test all major appliances to meet energy-efficiency standards set by the Department of Energy. These are displayed on an EnergyGuide label that specifies how much energy the appliance uses, compares this with the...

The Effect of Supply and Demand

Improvement in energy efficiency depends on legislation and funds for research to develop the necessary technology, both of which are influenced by supply and demand. For example, fuel economy standards were first enforced in 1975 in response to the 1973 energy crisis. In 2002 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards were 27.5 MPG for passenger cars and 20.7 MPG for light The EnergyGuide label that is affixed to new appliances sold in the United States. ( 2003, Kelly A. Quin. Reproduced...

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...

Radioactive Pollution from Nuclear Energy

By 1995 over 32,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste had been produced by American nuclear reactors. That number is expected to rise to 75,000 metric tons by 2015. Before the mid-1970s, the plan for fuel removed from nuclear reactors was to reprocess it and recycle the uranium into new fuel. Because a by-product of reprocessing is plutonium, a highly unstable element that can be used to make nuclear weapons, President Jimmy Carter ordered the end of reprocessing in 1977 due to security...

Energy Nuclear

Nuclear energy is produced during reactions in the nucleus of an atom. Atoms can be thought of as miniature solar systems with the nucleus at the center like a sun and electrons orbiting around it like planets. Densely packed neutrons and protons make up the nucleus, which is held together with great force, the strongest force in nature. When the nucleus is bombarded with a neutron, it can be split apart, a process called fission. Uranium is the heaviest natural element and has ninety-two...

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...

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...

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,...

Energy and Pollution

In addition, the chemical reaction shown above is an ideal one, but conditions in the real world are usually far from ideal. If the right amounts of oxygen and gasoline are not present in the cylinder of a car engine (because of a dirty air filter or a faulty fuel injection system, for example), poisonous carbon monoxide can form. Similarly, some of the hydrocarbons might escape from the engine unburned, releasing pollutants such as methane into the air. Nitrogen from the air inside the...

Transforming Energy into Work Gasoline Engines and Steam Boilers

Gasoline, which consists largely of hydrocarbon molecules chains of connected carbon and hydrogen atoms acts as a fuel in an automobile engine. It A coal-fired power plant. ( Lester Lefkowitz Corbis. Reproduced by permission.) source U.S. Congress, Office Technology Assessment, Energy in Developing Countries, OTA-E-486 (Washington, D.C. U.S. Government Printing office, Jan. 19) is a product of the distillation of raw petroleum. The energy that holds these carbon and hydrogen atoms together is...

The Endocrine Disrupter Controversy

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...

Examples of Research on Endocrine Disruption

In 1987 researchers at Tufts Medical Center in Boston were studying breast cancer cells growing in plastic dishes in the laboratory, when they noticed that the cells began to grow rapidly as if exposed to estrogen, even when no estrogen was added to the dishes. They traced the problem to nonylphenol, a chemical leaching from the plastic laboratory dishes. Now researchers use breast cancer cells to test chemicals for estrogenic effects. In the early 1990s, scientists in Florida studying...

Research Conclusions

In 2001, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated studies to determine whether ELF EMFs could increase cancer risk. Using the standard classification that weighs laboratory, human, and animal evidence, magnetic fields were classified as possibly carcinogenic (potentially cancer-causing) to humans based on epidemiological studies of childhood leukemia. Evidence for all other cancers, as well as for exposure to static and electric fields, was considered...

Electromagnetic Fields

The potential health effects of human-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have been a topic of scientific interest since the late 1800s, particularly in the last twenty years. Electromagnetic fields are natural phenomena that have always been present on earth. However, during the twentieth century, environmental exposure to human-made EMFs increased steadily, predominantly due to increased electricity and wireless technology use. Nearly all people are exposed to a complex mix of different types...

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...

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...

Ehrlich Paul

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...

An Educated Public

One goal of environmental education is to educate the public so that it is better informed to handle the issues and problems regarding pollution, whether it comes from industry, agriculture, or from the home. Educational programs, classes, pamphlets, and other informational products provide the public with the necessary skills to make informed decisions and take responsible action. For instance, activities at the community level are often successful with such grassroots projects as school...

Composting Techniques

Traditionally, composting has been an important technique for maintaining soil fertility. In developed economies, composting is a commercial enterprise, manufacturing soil products for horticultural and ornamental plants, and organic farming. On a small scale, composting is done in a bin at least 1 m2 at the base and no more than 120 cm (4 feet) high. A 5-cm mesh of woven wire is placed at the base of the bin as a retaining barrier and to facilitate drainage. The bin has an overflow gate at...

Composting

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...

Clean Air

The 1970 Clean Air Act (CAA), significantly amended in 1977 and again in 1990, regulates air pollution emissions from stationary sources (e.g., factories, smokestacks, etc.), mobile sources (e.g., motor vehicles), and certain indirect sources (e.g., highways, malls, parking lots, etc., that attract mobile sources to the location). Specified criteria pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, particulates (i.e., soot, fly ash, etc.), and lead are directly regulated, as...

Measuring Pollution

Determining pollution problems and costs in the United States (or any country) may appear relatively simple. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In reality, there is generally a lack of accurate and comprehensive information on the condition of the environment in industrialized countries (and even more so in developing countries). In general, a lack of sufficient understanding by scientists of environmental phenomena and the elements in which to measure them still does not allow a...

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...

Carver George Washington

Conservationist a person who works to conserve natural resources crop rotation alternation of crop species on a field to maintain soil health hybridization formation of a new individual from parents of different species or varieties FARMER, AGRICULTURAL FOOD SCIENTIST, EDUCATOR (1805-1943) The conservationist agricultural practices developed by George Washington Carver at the beginning of the twentieth century increased agricultural sustainability for poor African-American farmers in the U.S....

Who Hires Environmental Specialists

Jobs in environmental protection can be found in both government and private organizations many of which are not specifically environmentally oriented as well as in industry. Here is a brief list of places to look for jobs in environmental protection. Most agencies have their own Web site with current job listings. Federal government agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Forestry Department Local...

Building a Career

Most careers in environmental protection require some training or collegelevel education and often graduate-level or professional training. Anyone interested in pursuing a career in this field needs to consider educational and training requirements carefully. Choosing the courses or a major for a career in environmental protection is not usually as clear-cut as it is for a career in law or medicine. However, many universities now have degree programs in environmental studies that allow students...

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...

Earth

An estimated twenty million Americans took part in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Virtually every community from Maine to California hosted activities. Congress adjourned for the day. All the television networks gave it significant coverage. In New York, hundreds of thousands of people jammed Fifth Avenue from Fourteenth Street all the way to Central Park to listen to politicians, scientists, and celebrities. In San Jose, California, college students held a funeral for the internal...

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...

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...

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 Future of Disaster Preparedness

As losses increase and casualties remain frequent and widespread, the problem of natural catastrophes is topical and pressing. Expertise is gradually accumulating on how to best tackle disaster, and new agencies for managing it are forming at the local, regional, national, and international levels. For such efforts to succeed, rigorous standards need to be established for emergency planning, management, and training. There needs to be more investment in both structural and nonstructural...

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...

Understanding Hazards and Disasters

The driving force, or trigger, of disaster is the natural agent. In this context natural disasters are distinguished earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, and so on from technological ones (toxic spills, transportation accidents, explosions in industrial plants, etc.) and social disasters (riots, acts of terrorism, crowd crushes, etc.). Experts on natural disaster tend to confine the definition to extreme geophysical phenomena and not include disease epidemics and the...

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...

Long and Shortterm Impacts of Mining in the Environment

On a long-term basis, mining can increase the acidity of water in streams cause increased sediment loads, some of which may be metal-laden, in drainage basins initiate dust with windborne pathogens and cause the release of toxic chemicals, some contained in exposed ore bodies and waste rock piles and some derived from ore-processing reactions. Contaminants containing such toxic chemicals as cyanide and lead may be transported far from a mining site by water or wind, polluting soils,...

Dilution

Dilution was the solution to pollution when populations were small. Everything people wanted to get rid of went into the water. These wastes were typically organic, such as human wastes and animal carcasses. They became food for animals, macroinvertebrates, bacteria, and fungi that broke down the waste. As small villages grew into towns and towns into cities, waterways were overwhelmed by the amount of disposed wastes, and many rivers became open sewers. A larger problem developed during the...

Diesel

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (1858-1913), a German thermal engineer, invented the diesel engine and patented it in 1893. Unlike their gasoline counterparts, which ignite an air fuel mixture using spark plugs, diesel engines compress air to a very high pressure and then inject the fuel. The fuel then ignites due to the high temperature of the compressed air. Diesel engines are relatively fuel-efficient engines commonly used in heavy construction equipment, ships, locomotives, commercial trucks,...

DDT Dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane

DDT, dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane, was synthesized in 1874, but its insecticidal properties were first identified in 1939 by P.H. Mueller. He received the Nobel Prize for his discovery, which coincided with the outbreak of World War II, when DDT was used extensively to keep soldiers free of head and body lice. DDT also proved very effective against mosquitoes, which transmit a serious global human disease, malaria, as well as yellow fever. After the war, DDT was developed extensively as an...

Environmental Planning and Analysis

Environmental planners and analysts are involved in finding ways to reduce damage to the environment. Jobs include Environmental planners and environmental analysts. Environmental planners develop plans for specific communities to protect environmental quality. Environmental analysts research, identify, and analyze different sources of pollution to determine their effects on the environment and find alternative ways to handle projects in an environmentally sensitive manner.

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...

Natural Resources Conservation and Management

Conservation and natural resource managers maintain and manage natural resources. Some specialists are required to balance multiuse recreation with the preservation of natural resources. Fishery and wildlife managers Fish and game wardens Forestry and conservation technicians Sample Occupations. Foresters manage and protect forests so that both people and the environment benefit. Foresters oversee a multiuse system, including municipal watersheds, wildlife habitats, and outdoor recreation...

Environmental Outreach Education Communications Advocacy and Fundraising

Environmental communications specialists are responsible for communicating knowledge about the environment to the public, the government, and private businesses. Environmental outreach specialists can be found teaching in schools, helping firms understand environmental goals, interpreting nature at state parks, writing for publications, and lobbying legislators. Environmental educators teach the public about the environment. Environmental educators are hired to work in schools, nature centers,...

Opportunities for Almost Every Interest

Today, many people can find careers in environmental protection that match their personal skills and dreams. For example, someone interested in working outdoors might choose to become a conservation biologist, park ranger, wildlife manager, or forester. A person who enjoys working with the public might explore working as an outreach specialist in environmental education, Workers testing and analyzing ground water. ( David Sailors Corbis. Reproduced by permission.) public relations,...

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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...

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...

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...

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...

Cancer

Cancer develops when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Normal cells grow, divide, and die. But cancer cells, instead of dying, continue to Cigarette smoking (one pack or more per day) Human-made chemicals in indoor air at home Human-made chemicals in drinking water Chemical exposure at uncontrolled hazardous SOURCE U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grow and form new abnormal cells. Cancer cells often travel to other body parts where they grow and replace normal tissue. This...

Burn Barrels

People used to think that burning household trash and yard waste in an open barrel was an inexpensive, good way to get rid of it. However, today's packaging and products are often made from plastics, dyes, and other synthetics. When burned, these cause air pollution and, in a number of U.S. states and municipalities, it is illegal. Burn barrels operate at relatively low temperatures, typically at 400 to 500 Fahrenheit (F) and have poor combustion efficiency (municipal incinerators run in the...

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...

National Pollution Prevention Roundtable

The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) is one of the largest NGOs in the United States devoted exclusively to P2. It provides a national forum for the dissemination of P2 information with regards to policy developments, practices, and resources in order to diminish or eradicate pollution at the source. The NPPR provides its P2 members federal agencies, state and local government programs, regional resource centers, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and industry...

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...

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...

The International Movement

Europeans were struggling with their own environmental disasters. Swedish scientists had been studying the connection between common air pollutants like sulfur and nitrogen dioxides and high levels of acidity in many of their waters. Documenting an overall decline in the biological diversity of Scandinavia, the scientists hoped to capture international attention. The 1972 U.N. Conference on the Human Environment, hosted by Sweden, was the perfect place to present their findings. Air pollutants...

Legal Support for Environmentalists

Special-tactic groups began to emerge to accommodate the transition of environmental issues onto the national agenda. One such group was the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). A generous grant from the Ford Company led to the creation of the NRDC, a science-based initiative dealing with the new legal aspects of the movement. Even local citizen groups began to focus their interests. The Brookhaven Town Natural Resources Committee (BTNRC), a coalition of scientists and residents of Long...

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...

The Power of Activism

By the time the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union was signed in 1963, citizens were learning about chemical fallout right in their own backyards. In 1962 Rachel Carson's Silent Spring introduced a public dialogue about the impacts of toxic chemicals, specifically DDT, on wildlife and the environment. C sar E. Ch vez, leader of the United Farm Worker's Union, raised awareness of the diseases farmworkers suffered due to chemical exposure. Eventually...

Environmental Justice

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...

Environmental Impact Statement

National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA) requires that all federal agencies prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prior to making decisions that could have a significant impact on the environment. An EIS includes a description of the proposed action alternatives to the action, including the null (no action) alternative a description of the environmental context expected impacts and irreversible use of resources and ways to potentially lessen such impact. Impacts are...

Environment Canada

Canada's Department of the Environment, commonly known as Environment Canada, was founded in 1971. It was created to bring the different aspects of Canadian environmental policy, which had until then been split between several different departments, under the control of one main body. Environment Canada has primary, but not exclusive, control of implementing Canada's environmental policies (the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, for instance, still has control of fisheries protection)....

Investigation Case Development and Litigation

At the EPA, and in many U.S. states, enforcement cases typically go through three phases inspection and information-gathering, administrative case In the largest Clean Air Act settlement in history, The Virginia Electric Power Co. agreed to spend 1.2 billion between 2003 and 2013 to install new pollution control equipment and upgrade existing controls at eight VEPCO generating plants in Virginia and West Virginia. The company, one of the largest coal-fired electric utilities in the nation, was...

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...

Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollutants

Health effects due to indoor air pollutants may be short- as well as long-term. Short-term problems include a stuffy, odorous environment and symptoms such as burning eyes, skin irritation, and headaches. Long-term health problems have a longer latency period or are chronic in nature. The magnitude and duration of detrimental health effects are influenced by the time of exposure, concentration, presence of a preexisting unhealthy condition, and age. Health conditions involving some allergic...

Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

There are a variety of causes of poor indoor air quality. A NISOH study based on over five hundred complaints found that inadequate ventilation and the release of contaminants from indoor and outdoor sources are the primary reasons for indoor air quality problems (see pie chart). Inadequate ventilation may be defined as insufficient air to remove pollutants that are degrading the quality of air. Thus, the air quality in a building is the result of a contest between the pollutants and the...

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...

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...

Household Pollutants

Household pollutants are contaminants that are released during the use of various products in daily life. Studies indicate that indoor air quality is far worse than that outdoors because homes, for energy efficiency, are made somewhat airtight. Moreover, household pollutants are trapped in houses causing further deterioration of indoor air quality. Hazardous household products fall into six broad categories household cleaners, paints and solvents, lawn and garden care, automotive products, pool...

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...

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...

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...

Difficulties in Determining Environmental Health Effects at Low Exposure Levels

Pollution levels in most of the industrialized world are now relatively low. Lowering these levels further will be more expensive and, in the absence of convincing public health need, it will be more difficult to create the public will for additional reductions. At the same time, the health consequences of low levels of pollutants are undeniably more difficult to determine. This difficulty arises from two facts. The first is that people differ, often significantly, in their response to...

Environmental Health in the Postindustrial World

Pollution itself, particularly from human activities, is not a modern phenomenon. The preindustrialized world certainly offered many opportunities for a polluted existence. Wood fires, the close proximity of livestock, and mining and smelting operations all would have presented conditions for polluting either the air or water, or both. Following the Industrial Revolution, however, the combined concentrations of people and industrialized processes conspired to create pockets of intensely...

Environmental Health in the Preindustrial World

Human health and human disease have always been intimately connected to the environment. The environment contains the positive, in the form of air, water, and nutrients, and the negative, in the form of bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Humans have developed elaborate defense systems to protect against adverse environmental effects. These include immune systems that attack bacteria and other foreign bodies, DNA repair enzymes that defend the integrity of genetic structure, and metabolizing enzymes...

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...

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...

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...

Hayes Denis

AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALIST ORGANIZER OF FIRST EARTH DAY (1944-) Denis Hayes, at the time a twenty-five-year-old Harvard law student, organized the first Earth Day celebration on April 22, 1970. Earth Day inspired the grassroots participation of twenty million people in the United States and marked the coming-of-age of the environmental movement. It brought concerns about pollution and the environment into the awareness of the American public, and Congress responded by passing a series of...

Hamilton Alice

During the Progressive Era, Alice Hamilton became part of the revolution of thought about the causative factors of disease, explicitly linking environmental From left to right Mrs. F. Louis Slade, Marion Edward Park, and Alice Hamilton. ( Bettmann Corbis. Reproduced by permission.) From left to right Mrs. F. Louis Slade, Marion Edward Park, and Alice Hamilton. ( Bettmann Corbis. Reproduced by permission.) factors to serious illnesses or epidemics. To satisfy her passion for social activism,...

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...