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The following tape recorded program is distributed through the facilities of the National Association of educational broadcasters. Just hold your breath. Hold your breath as long as you can and you'll soon discover how vital this natural resource is. Yes air is the most precious substance we have when it's clean it's healthy and usable when it's polluted. It's costly and to kill. Air pollution is a threat to our way of life and you should know more about it. In these radio programs produced by Michigan State University under a grant from United States Public Health Service. Every aspect of this national problem from health effect to economic considerations will be discussed. Air pollution will be viewed by legislators scientists and public health officials representatives of industry. That's why. We challenge you to draw some logical and responsible conclusions
today more about the price of pollution. In his keynote address at the National Conference on air pollution in Washington DC in December of 162 Dr. Luther Terry United States surgeon general summarize the economic significance of air pollution in these words. In addition to its affects on health air pollution places a heavy economic burden on the country it causes extensive damages through its effects on animal and plant life through corrosion and soiling of materials and structures. Depreciation of property values interference with air and surface transportation through reduction in visibility and losses of unburned fuel. Estimates of such losses have tended to increase in recent years. The latest figures suggest that air pollution may be costing the nation more than 7 billion dollars each year unquote. In his report as chairman of the panel on economic considerations at that same conference Dr John T Middleton director of the air
pollution Research Center University of California explained air is a natural resource vital to man its composition directly affects man in the community in which he lives. The foods which nourish and the forests which supply him with building materials and useful products. The lands which are an integral part of his economy and the recreational areas which enrich his well-being. Man's dependence upon the air resource requires that it be protected from contamination and conserved for society. Increases in population trends toward further urbanization growth of industry and advances in industrial technology all place increased demands upon our limited air resource. These demands have resulted in the deterioration of air by adding a variety of industrial motor vehicle and domestic contaminants unquote. In the previous program we examined the economic impact of this deterioration on some of our natural resources
and in agriculture. Let's look more closely today at the agricultural problem as viewed by the American Farm Bureau Federation of the American Farm Bureau Federation is keenly interested in the problem of air pollution. Where you deal primarily through our state organizations however we are concerned on a national level and work with the legislative and the executive bodies of the government in this aspect. However our various State Farm Bureau organizations have been keenly aware of this problem some of them more than others. So we do have a very keen interest in this problem which faces the country today. I don't believe there's any doubt that a lot of the unprecedented growth of our cities and the industries in recent years lends a new urgency to this consideration of health problems related to particularly urban development and of course the pollution of airs one of these
complex and really potentially serious problems of modern living. So I think when you say there is a definite problem it's going to increase I heard yesterday an Economic Outlook conference that is not unlikely by the year 2000 we'd have double our present population where we now have perhaps one industry would have six by then while all the economists in the country are concerned about the relationship of problems such as air pollution to the expanding population and industrialization. Mr. J.B. thing of the American Farm Bureau Federation's legislative staff is interested primarily in its relationship to agriculture and rural life. We of course have a keen interest in an agriculture being a farm organization representing the farmers. We represent some millions 1600000 farm families throughout the United States. It's a nonprofit organization for a Joycean where the farmers joined to help the farmers develop
and increase their economic stability. And so we are primarily interested in helping the farmer and I were not Enrile on. It is not unrelated that were interested of course in all society. So perhaps from our point of view and this maybe some would say a selfish point of view we'd like to see a little more research going to to the effect of these pollutants in the air on agriculture. And we're not too sure that when a farmer buys a piece of property. He has a property right now subsequent to his purchase of this property a plant comes in locates close by which it poisons which pollute the air and damages his land. He really is his property right has been jeopardized to a certain extent. So we feel there is a grave responsibility upon the industry and upon the community and the state to look into this problem and to bring some protection to this individual who has purchased this
property in order to produce food for the nation. Just how the rights of the farmer and the condition of his crops which feed the nation are insulted by polluted air is explained by Mr William Jay Phillips chairman of the board of county supervisors Orange County California a state which has felt the economic impact of air pollution in all its severity. This develops. What about the alleged effects of air pollution on agriculture. Is this something that you can measure in terms of dollars and cents. Yes indeed in fact. We've been doing a lot of work on this actor and the fact that some breakthroughs have come about in these last two years in the University of California air pollution research center at Riverside and other universities and in California have been able to make breakthroughs and actually synthesizing certain of the compounds that are part of the irradiated hydrocarbons. Our biggest problem of course in
our areas is from the automobile and one of the byproducts of the automobile exhaust him blow by it from the engine itself would be your irradiated hydrocarbons. So consequently from this they have things like Parsifal nitrate and which has a very definite effect upon leafy vegetables tobacco and other things of this sort. How does it how does it affect them. Well in Orange County we had one day and a layer of the haying is odorless and colorless. It moved down wiped out our the entire remaining crop. Romaine lettuce crop in orange dry and one day up north where they have no industry to speak of. In the Fresno area and above they wiped out over 8 million dollars with the lettuce and some of the vegetables of that type. This does have an economic and actual economic importance so we do know this too that we have been doing experiments which
will take a lot of time to actually see how what the long term effects are. For example orange trees lemon trees various types of fruit trees. We do know that the trees are the closest to the height we obviously are in far worse condition than those that are up in the Senate. The group itself is very interesting it tends to have a very definite impact upon me. Fill out put everything else and I plant it. So with the EPA and P P and P B and P P and it's about five times as strong as p a m and p b and is about 10 times as strong. And they we know they do have a very definite effect. But we have not yet gotten to the point of seeing how far it goes into the future of various trees. These are products of combustion from from the use of petroleum products that do affect all these things with the fancy initials without going into the
discouraged what is correct Actually Doctor The point is that they. I don't bill puts out about six point six pounds of aerial sewage a day and your hydrocarbons are. Aldehyde etc.. The various things that do have an impact upon people and plants and corrosion paint etc. do come basically I feel in our area about 80 percent from the automobile. In a later program we'll consider the problem presented by the automobile in detail. But to further consider the economic infringement by polluted air on our communities let's return to Mr Phillips who also serves as chairman of the air pollution Committee of the National Association of County officials. As in rural areas our cities experience their own peculiar results from atmospheric contamination. As Mr. Phillips indicates population trends can be affected. Well actually I think the biggest thing we've got to think about now is that we've pretty well proven.
That air pollution is a great deterrent to people wanting to stay in a particular area. We had instances in our in my own county of Orange in game California where we had whole industries moved to Orange County because their people wouldn't stay in a highly air polluted areas. Toll and the actual fact is that of course any county just going to do a good job of planning. Most certainly take into account the fact that they should plan well and wisely for industry and air pollution the same as they plan their highways and their airports and all the rest of it is all part of it and they will find one of these days more fight almost every day in other cities now. And the fact that every city or 50000 in these United States does have an air pollution problem. You can't get a growing community just to fill up so one that wants to be actually progressive. It neglect its air pollution and continue to survive in the struggle
both for people and for a new industry. I don't see how they can. Actually it comes right down to that point. You question almost answers itself as a progressive community would consider air pollution as part of their one of their major problems the same as they would have an adequate water supply. Is it reasonable to expect that a community that is dependent upon industry for tanks they send for employment can require that same industry to spend a lot of money to take care of air pollution. So I might use my own county as an example again. We have increased in size some 400 and 25 percent in population since 1950. But we have increased it over a hundred and ninety percent in just tool development. We have not permitted the heavy industries to move in. Without proper controls. Industries a have moved into the county want to keep it the way that it was when they moved him.
They don't want to have their polluted and I have a few industries doing harm to all the people they consider laws apply when you come right down to it you are getting cooperation from the industries that you already have in order to keep the air clean. Yes indeed in fact as were much of our help comes from that they bought their industries in because the people wanted to live in the area became so polluted that they can't live there or don't want to live there they'll lose the very top that they have. This this fits into the economic balance of the community that we do in a job a plenty. During my fields there and throughout other areas of the country or is beginning to show now that the areas that have done a good job in planning I think get the unqualified support of industry. If you notice most industries these days the ones who are progressive themselves. Team 2 and their top man to work in civic affairs to
be active in national community politics and do something about them because after all an industry is as much a part of the area certainly as the people are and if their way if they want to live there if the people want to be happy they've got to be able to provide the things that will keep them there. Mr Phillips has raised a basic economic issue. Industry means jobs. Jobs are filled by people and people make up communities. If people are sufficiently dissatisfied with their community they leave and if they leave in sufficient numbers the community deteriorates clean air or the lack of clean air as Mr. Philips has pointed out is an increasingly important factor in population and industrial location. Orange County California has grown because of its clean air. Here's what can happen because of unclean air a number of physicians in California have reported that their patients. Are affected unfavorably by air pollution.
Now while it isn't easy to measure this we don't care to subject these people to. Experiments. Nevertheless the number of physicians who report this and the number of people for example. Who have been advised by their doctors to leave Los Angeles because of their health is fairly impressive. One of the estimates by the Los Angeles County Medical Society and study that they did jointly with the TB Association estimated that 10000 people had been advised by their physicians to leave the area because their pollution was potentially harmful to their health. Most of the people had respiratory conditions according to this survey of course this was a sample survey and there and what I refer to is an extrapolation. This I think is fairly impressive. The even more impressive is the complaints of people
themselves the complaints of IRA Taisha respiratory irritation. It's from our surveys we know that those who are bothered by air pollution reporting a substantial fraction of responses that air pollution interferes with their breathing. Now I will agree that this has been difficult for us to measure and put an exact equation to with respect to what it is that causes exactly how much interference. But I believe this when people tell us and I believe we should be attentive to what their symptoms are. After all the practicing physician is attentive to his patient's symptoms and I think we in public health of similar responsibility. That report from Dr John Goldsmith head of the air pollution medical studies for the California Department of Health. Although we have called upon a number of Californians to discuss
various issues on today's program Make no mistake polluted air is a national problem. California has had perhaps more than its share of pollution experience and is therefore more familiar with its consequences. Since contaminated air is found nearly everywhere in the United States and as we have seen economically affects the relationship of industry to people to communities. Labor unions have long concerned themselves with the problem. Mr. Taylor could you tell us a little bit about your work here at the AFL CIO. I'd be glad to. I am an economist with a research department of the AFL CIO among other things my work is in Atomic Energy and Natural Resources. Since we consider air as one of our most vitally important natural resources. My work also is involved with the question of air pollution and have been for some little time the.
Problems of organized labor has in this field are not only those workers involved in plants where there are safety hazards where polluted air is released during the days work but also that of citizens in the community. Citizens of the state or region of the nation. Therefore Labor has interested itself over a period of years and the problem air pollution and we're trying to do our part and citizens as citizens to help. Make this problem Mr. Taylor do you think that the increasing population and the increasing tendency of our people to live in metropolitan areas will compound the existing problem of air pollution. Yes I do very much so the trend toward urbanization has been accelerating during the last several years. It shows every indication of continuing. Already there
are possibly a hundred and ten hundred twenty million people in. Many many communities where air pollution problems have become quite acute. Along with the increase in population which possibly will be three hundred twenty three hundred fifty million people within the next 20 to 25 years in the United States two thirds of these being in urban areas increasing number of cars increasing in industry and new uses of chemicals. I think there is no doubt that this problem will continue to grow unless something is done about it. Mr. George Taylor also told us that aside from clean air being important to workers and their occupational environs the recreational facilities of the communities in which they live work and play is also an important consideration of the recreation potential of any community is made among other things by A.
Clean air just as it is. Conditioned or. Curtailed by my clean water. It certainly has been my only experience in going around the country and note that. In areas where there are a great number of plants which pollute the air that the community they generally speaking have have fewer recreational facilities than those where there had been some attempt to to control this or in areas where the problem has not yet become acute. I think recreation from the standpoint of healthy air situation in any community is enhanced contrary curtailed when impure air or noxious fumes dust and other matter is. The rule rather than the exception. This is important not only to organized labor but also to the average citizen as well as not.
It certainly is it's an important matter to every citizen as well as working people we certainly don't. Place ourselves outside a community we place ourselves as in a common role of citizens in every community where there is organized labor. We like to take part in all useful and creative activities in the community and therefore we feel that as citizens we should make ourselves aware of this and help in any way possible. Where there is a possibility of alleviating a situation of this kind. Organized labor recognizes its responsibility to the citizenry at large. But of course always its first duty to those that represents the workers. Mr. Taylor what do you consider to be the most serious problems in air pollution from the standpoint of the individual working man. While in our believe it is from our own standpoint of
workers the problem of air pollution within plants themselves within mine. Within areas where people work every day. Problems of silicosis in the mine have been with us for many years and a number of states in the West. The problem of dust. From. Various plants which produces connection with crushing and grinding processes are. The safety hazards to workers on the job problem of chemicals in the air. Problem of. Any type of noxious chemical emanations which workers are exposed to on the job. Constitute a health hazard. Require definite
steps to eliminate this health hazard. Moving from our own particular interest as workers on the job would just generally be scribed. I would say that the next. Concern that we have this is within our neighborhood and our community itself where. Foul air few smoke dest and other things can settle in the neighborhood and make it almost unfit for people to live and to raise children and have recreation in and moving out to the community itself. Checked air pollution can. Have a very definite inhibiting effect on industrial growth and stability because nobody wants to bring a plant into an area where there is nothing but smog smoke noxious fumes
order reference gases. Any community who wants to locate and bring new people in there in this type of environment. From the standpoint of state and region this becomes a general problem and nationally in the aggregate these situations add up to a national problem for which no. Adequate steps have yet been taken to do what is necessary to abate and eliminate. Do you have any comments at all about the importance of air pollution either inside or outside of the plant on the what did we refer to as absenteeism. Oh I think there's a definite relationship between respiratory disease which causes absenteeism in many cases and and the. The conditions within the plant. I think there has been shown to be a definite connection. One of the.
Courses this is in London England but during the. Time of the great far back in London a number of years ago I think as I recall that medical records showed something like 100000 individuals died of influenza other respiratory diseases which are traced directly to this condition which held exhaust fumes microfilms and other things right down into the city of London and this metropolitan area to the point where hundreds of thousands of people were suffering and to trace it back. Certainly I am sure in London and other areas but this was reflected in absenteeism from the plant. Probably reduced production because of absenteeism of many instances key employees and I think it it does constitute a direct causal relationship. Today you've heard how air pollution is economically related to the stability of a community
rural or urban. And why clean air significantly affects jobs and people. Next week you'll meet an average citizen a woman who became very concerned with the condition of her communities air and decided to do something about it. How far the steel mills from you right here in my backyard right right right in your own backyard. Kay Yeah I have that federal fund just a block and a half in west of me Republic Steel is about half of miles south of me that we have. Wisconsin still is a mile west of here. That's where my husband was employed. So we had above mostly all the steel mills right here in this district. But with the things that you first noticed it kind of bothered you. It had to do with air pollution. The dirt that your body would do. I don't know how I'm going to say this. The dirt that would stick to your body are here to your body if you were working out in the yard or if we would be sitting out on the front porch of an
evening. You'd go out there and maybe a nice clean house dress has been put here by a nice white shirt. We came in and that was the end of that it couldn't be worn the second time if you sat out side in the air any length of time. How long is this from going on. Ever since we lived here but in 1942 was the first time I ever called the air pollution Department on it. And then the war broke out. And they told us that was and anything they could do. Then of course we just went along. I mean with it until after we had painted our home our home was painted maybe two weeks. And we got plenty when I looked at it and everything was just as it was someone had taken a script and with oil it sprayed all the paint work on the home. What color was this deposit just like a dirty gray oil. I say like you would take the oil from your case after it's been through
and just spray it at somebody I'd imagine that's what it would look like. What kind of advice would you have to give to her. Oh another housewife such as yourself that thought that she was being bothered by a problem an air pollution. What would you advise her to deal right out of the neighborhood. Mrs. Sorenson didn't move out of her community however. We hope you can be with us next time to meet her and hear a fascinating story. Hold your breath was produced by Patrick Ford at Michigan State University under a grant from the division of air pollution Bureau of state services United States Public Health Service. Our interviewer is Dr. Albert E. used as commissioner of health state of Michigan. Programs are distributed through the facilities of the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
Hold your breath
Agricultural problems caused by air pollution
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on the financial costs of air pollution, particularly as it relates to agriculture.
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This series focuses on air pollution and its impact on America.
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Social Issues
Public Affairs
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Interviewee: Thane, J.B.
Interviewee: Taylor, George
Interviewee: Phillips, William J.
Interviewer: Heustis, Albert E.
Producer: Ford, Patrick
Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: cpb-aacip-60fc4a07802 (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:24
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Chicago: “Hold your breath; Agricultural problems caused by air pollution,” 1963-10-09, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “Hold your breath; Agricultural problems caused by air pollution.” 1963-10-09. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Hold your breath; Agricultural problems caused by air pollution. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from