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Copyright 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Chapter 13

Industrial Pollution and

Environmental Policy
This chapter:

Discusses the nature of industrial pollutants and the

practices and social philosophies that allowed them to
darken the skies, poison waters, and despoil land.
Discusses how massive regulatory programs developed
to control industrial pollution.
Explains the current operation of these programs, how
they affect corporations, and how well they work.
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The Indian Health Service Solves

a Mystery Opening Case
Five cases of malignant mesothelioma, virtually
always caused by exposure to asbestos, in a
pueblo of 2,000 Indians puzzled health officials.
It was discovered that workers from a nearby plant
discarded old asbestos insulation which was found
by members of the tribe and brought back to the
pueblo and put to many uses.
The story of what happened to the Indians is analogous to
what has happened to large populations in industrial societies.
In both cases, it was only after substantial exposures had
occurred and sickness began to appear that government
agencies mobilized to protect public health.
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Pollution refers to the release of
substances into the environment that
inconvenience or endanger humans.
Much of it comes from natural sources.
Human activity adds more contaminants.

Industrial activity both harms human

health and disturbs natural ecology.

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Human Health
Health Risks Posed by Major Sources of Environmental Pollution

Percent of DALYs
Environmental Health Risk





Indoor air pollution

Urban air pollution

Agricultural chemicals and

industrial waste


All pollution-related



Water supply and


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The Biosphere
Ecosystems services are the productivity of
natural ecosystems in creating food and fiber
and in regulating climate, water, soil, nutrients,
and other forms of natural capital.
Broad ecosystems are now degraded and under
pressure as advances in human well-being have
been achieved by exploiting ecosystem services.
The causes of ecosystem strain are multiple and
complex, but they center on accelerating
economic activity.

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Industrial Activity, Pollution,

and the Environment
Today there are nations on every continent
with ambitious development plans that put
industry before environmental protection.
Much interest today is focused on the notion
of sustainable development.
There is evidence that environmental quality
in growing economies does not follow a path
of long-term deterioration as in the old
industrial revolution model.
Environmental Kuznets curve
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Ideas Shape Attitudes Toward the


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New Ideas
Challenge the Old
Naturalist Aldo Leopold inspired
others to rethink traditional ideas about
the man-nature relationship
Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess
deep ecology
Inspired anti-corporate government
Philosopher Peter Singer speciesism
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Environmental Regulation in the

United States
The dominant approach to industrial pollution
control in the United States has been to pass
laws that strictly regulate:
In the 1970s, Congress passed a remarkable
string of new laws, creating a broad statutory
base for regulating industry.
The Environmental Protection Agency
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Principal Areas of Environmental

Policy: Air
The Clean Air Act
National air quality criteria pollutants
Carbon monoxide (CO)
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
Ozone (O3)
Particulate matter
Lead (Pb)

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Principal Areas of Environmental

Policy: Air (continued)
Hazardous air pollutants (a/k/a air toxics)

Methyl chloride

The clean air act requires the EPA to set

emission standards for 187 air toxics at levels
that prevent disease and requires industry to
use the maximum achievable control
technology to comply.
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Principal Areas of Environmental

Policy: Air (continued)
Acid rain is caused
primarily by releases of two
criteria pollutants:
Sulfur dioxide
Nitrogen oxides
Indoor air pollution
Ozone-destroying chemicals
Greenhouse gases

Atmospheric gases
that absorb energy
radiated from the
earth, preventing it
from being released
into space.

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Principal Areas of Environmental

Policy: Water
Federal Water Pollution Control Act
Amendments of 1972, usually called the Clean
Water Act
National Pollution Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) requires each industrial facility to get a
permit specifying the volume of one or more
substances it can pour into a water body.
Runoff is largely uncontrolled.

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Principal Areas of Environmental

Policy: Land
Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act (RCRA)
Firms must label, handle, store, treat, and
discard hazardous waste under strict
guidelines, keeping meticulous records.

Difficult to administer
Difficult to comply

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RCRA Landfill Groundwater

Monitoring Requirements

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Principal Areas of Environmental

Policy: Land (continued)
Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980
Better known as Superfund so-named after the
large trust fund it set up to pay for cleanups
Created to clean up abandoned toxic waste sites
The number of sites is higher than predicted and the
cleaning process more difficult and expensive than
Cleanup work started at 1,030 sites, however, only
325 have been fully restored and deleted from the

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Typical Rotary Kiln Incinerator at

a Superfund Site

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Concluding Observations
Industrial processes damage the
environment and cause serious local and
global deterioration.
The response has been to adopt a series of
fairly rigid and expensive regulatory
In the U.S. it is now the largest and most
expensive area of regulation.
Uneven progress has been made in the
attack on air, water, and land pollution.
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