Hold your breath; Air pollution and the industries, part one
The following tape recorded programs distributed through the facilities of the National Association of educational broadcasters. Just hold your breath. Hold your breath as long as you can go 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 youthful. When it polluted it costly and it kills 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 ad bank of a national problem from health a back to economic consideration is a bit of got air pollution will be viewed by legislators scientists public held vigil representatives of into three of why. We challenge you to draw some logical and responsible conclusions.
So far in the series of programs the emphasis has been on acute and chronic health effects and economic considerations of the polluted atmosphere. In each case a scientist doctor or economist. Each having a long acquaintance with these problems has produced the evidence which he felt more than adequately demonstrated his case. In their attitude toward air pollution it has been in a sense a one sided view. The attentive listener has by this time then become aware of perhaps two things. First in the matter of health air pollution does not of itself cause a disease. It serves as a catalyst if you will for other diseases especially those of the respiratory system and evidence strongly suggests that heavy doses under adverse conditions can precipitate premature death or long exposure to certain contaminants has been tied to the production of lung cancer. The second point is that in the matter of economics estimates are available which show a tremendous cost being incurred by the
general public because of corrosion particulate matter destruction of crops sickness in animals and so on. Destruction of specific crops is concrete evidence and can easily be shown. However the fact that one must paint his house more often or use an extra bar of soap each month or wash the car more frequently is rather weak evidence. Thus the deleterious effects of air pollution are demonstrated largely by a circumstantial kind of evidence by circumstances that are nevertheless frighteningly real. It is not difficult to understand the grave concern felt by public health officials. Those responsible for preservation of natural resources urban planners and private citizens among others over the increasing threat of polluted air. The listener has also become aware that there is another contingent of our society already mentioned which has a stake in this problem. What is the attitude of those manufacturers whose processes or products in part cause the pollution of the air which both we and they
breathe. Not surprisingly perhaps a quite different picture of our problem comes into focus because any control effort exerted by industry costs that industry money which may or may not be regained. Arbitrary control measures are sometimes resisted. Industry is perfectly willing generally to control any emission which is known to be harmful. The difference between public health officials and air pollution control officials on the one hand and industry on the other is the amount of evidence which they feel is necessary to justify the implementation of costly control measures matters of health. Industries generally feel that the public health officials should go back to the laboratories research and when all the answers are no on controls will be affected accordingly. A rational position. The scientists generally say the evidence is strong enough now. If we wait we are wasting precious time control not on the basis of present knowledge. Control more or less later on the
basis of further research. Also a rational position. The industries we concerned ourselves with primarily were steel chemical automobile and coal. In the three ensuing programs you will hear the arguments and positions presented directly by representatives of these industries. Dr Alan brand manager of industrial health engineering for Bethlehem Steel Company sums up his industry's position in the light of present knowledge air pollution is primarily a nuisance problem. How far and by what means we proceed in controlling the nuisance is quite another matter. However in the area of health affects with the many young knowns existing with respect to the health implications it is imperative that much more research be done in that area in order to establish whether there is in fact a real relationship between chronic illness and the air pollution in the air. We'll hear much more from Dr. Brandt on today's program. But first some interesting
insight into the industrial pollution problem by an industrial hygienist turned public health officer. Mr. Smith I notice that you have some background and training in experience and industrial hygiene. Has this been helpful to you and your overall activities in air pollution control. Oh it's been most helpful in a sense my untrained as an engineer into the field of public health. I was related to. Air Pollution Within the plan between my junior and senior years of college. I accepted a job. With a firm. Who unlike many others paid very little heed to and plan problems that might seriously affect the health of its workers. As a result of this so I. Quite frankly developed a feeling that it wasn't reasonable to ask men to work and I had my superiors as dusty as some that I worked with them to wind up with sinus problems a loss of weight from perhaps something illogical
response to the types of products. That were the main one your fractured and I will say this. My concern. As a budding engineer was not soley for what was happening to the workers but I thought that this was an inefficient thing for the plant to do with those mine wine producing the way they could have been producing. They were being paid for labor that the farm was just not receiving the benefit of. Well so this this this ties into the economics again as it is very relationship does and. I entered the field of public health engineering as an industrial hygiene engineer at a time when many of us were perhaps not too concerned with air pollution and one of the standard answers to the unplanned problem of course was to establish systems of control which took various contaminants away from the work areas and
deposited them on the outside of the building and I can recall some of our initial shocks when. The people on the parking lots began to complain about the paint spray coming from the panes through spray booths which had been set up to ensure that the gentleman applying pine to want her exposed to solvent vapors. And in some instances the pigments. So what they do inside of the plant has an effect many times that what happens outside of the plant and certainly many industrial operations which we controlled nationally for the benefit of the health of the worker in the plant has caused problems outside of the plant that we now feel quite responsible for controlling Why can't we wait until we have a real local problem before we start to do some of the things to clean up. Obviously we can wait if we choose to wait again as an engineer this becomes a cost factor. Which is going to cost us
the most. This is one problem The other problem is which of one of us chooses to barter away the lives of his fellow man. Now I don't like to raise a scare issues. The fact remains that we've learned in some communities that acute air pollution problems during periods of minimal natural Hina lation can cause deaths in our population now. If you say that we should wait then which of us is going to decide in Philadelphia how many deaths perhaps we should have before we have reached the point where our air is bad enough to go ahead with more active programs for cleaning it up. I don't believe that this is the type of social decision if you will that there is any answer for I don't want to answer obviously we don't wait until our problem reaches this proportion
if in fact it already hasn't reached this proportion. I know you're aware some work by Dr Greenberg in New York City which would seem to indicate that. At least in one smog episode in New York some years ago there may have been a small but nevertheless finite number of people who. Died with air pollution at least as a strong secondary factor if not a primary factor. We miss these things our is our tools of. Measuring out which people die of. What sometimes aren't definitive enough to tell us when we have just reached this borderline. My answer to this is let's not wait dif we clean up too much as a result of our conservation program. This isn't really going to be such a horrible thing in terms of costs. What it means is that we can go a little
slower in the next decade. That was Mr. Raymond Smith chief of the air pollution control section in the division of environmental health of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. As we mentioned a moment ago our views generally held on air pollution by industry and control officials differ markedly. There is unanimous agreement that where health is concerned every effort will be made to reduce an air contaminant to safe levels. But before any money is spent on such an effort industry generally wants concrete and demonstrable proof of the effect. Otherwise air pollution is considered to be only a nuisance. As you listen to these programs you will develop an attitude toward air pollution. We will endeavor to let you develop that attitude as fairly as possible. Speaking for heavy industry steel in particular Dr. Allen Browne will discuss problems in air pollution. Mr. Brando whenever an air pollution problem exists or industry is frequently considered the or the culprit I don't particularly like the word but that's what they talk about. The main cause of the difficulty. The facts
generally substantiate this viewpoint. The answer to that question must be no Dr Who is this. I stated early earlier. Industry often is the most important single source of air pollution but rarely is the main cause of the difficulty. Many careful studies by unbiased research teams have shown such to be the case. The thread. Do you believe that the public and the air pollution control officials have been somewhat unreasonable in their demand for cleaner air. Well recognizing of course that there are exemptions to any general statement the public and air pollution control officials in many instances have been unreasonable and uninformed in their demands for cleaner air. If they can try and their concern to those deemed graphical areas where the conditions of air pollution have been shown by investigation to exist and other pollutants responsible for the objectionable conditions such on reasonableness in the main would be averted.
Mr rant. Is it not true that the average American community is perhaps that dependent upon industry that is for tax base for employment and other types of things. If this is the case is it reasonable to expect that a community can and successfully impose a necessary air pollution controls on its industry. DOCTOR WHO IS THAT. It is true that most American communities depend to a large extent upon industry. However it seems to me that whether a community can or should for that matter impose rigid air pollution controls on his industry depends upon whether the problem is one of health effects or nuisance effects. No one in my opinion will argue that an industry should be permitted to discharge pollutants into the atmosphere. If such pollutants have been demonstrated to have a serious effect on the health of the citizens of such a community. However if the problem is one of nuisance effects
that is discoloration corrosion of property and the like. The cost to industry and to others as well all reducing the pollutants must be balanced against the cost of the community living with the conditions as they are or some other compromise between those two. Mr. Brandon your opinion is it likely that there will be a mass relocation of industry or or even a significant relocation of industry because of air pollution control requirements always highly unlikely it seems to me that there will be any mass relocation I mean the street because of air pollution control legislation never has it can hardly be denied that there are already some isolated cases. OB relocation of industry of discontinuing certain operations and on locating a new industry in a given area because ob the harsh restrictions as to air pollution emissions that is to say I'm not locating the industry
in an area because of the Ares harsh restrictions with this reaction to air pollutants. Obviously however this factor it is not an effect industry uniformly It affects so much more than others depending upon the type of the industry. Mr. Brett the same afternoon we were talking with Mr. Chasse the air pollution control engineer for the city for the Los Angeles County. And he told tells us that in spite of their extremely rigid air pollution controls that they have more industry there than ever. Would you care to comment on that at all or. Well I think that in so far as Mr. Chester's comment is concerned he was speaking about California and for that matter was endless and I think the trend in terms of having more people and where you have more people you need more industry and that trend would exist in Los Angeles a respectable how harsh the restrictions might be much more so for example that then again an area in the country where there was present a large amount of old industry that may not be competitive anymore as it
was once upon a time. Mr. Brand if we if we take a look at the various causes of air pollution that are usually talked about or the air pollution caused by industry and that caused by transportation and construction and all domestic activities of fuel burning and then municipal and agricultural activities. How would you rate the in order of importance. Well that's a difficult question and as you know the question will vary a great deal from area to area community to community. In a general way however the several sources listed in your question seem to me are a body in their proper order of importance. That's industry first and then transportation and so forth. That is correct yes in the order in which you have the minister being first. It should be made clear that in many instances industry while being the most important single source it does not account for as much as 50 percent of the total air pollutant load. It probably is common knowledge and I'm sure you know that the main
problem in Pittsburgh 20 years ago was that of domestic heating plants. That is a hostile furnace and the main problem in Los Angeles at present as we all know is that of Transportation the larger the automobile. Accordingly all sources must be given due consideration. Mr. Bright do you think that there are areas in any given community that where a citizen ought to be willing to put up with a certain type and a certain degree of air pollution because of oh such things as tax base or for any other reason. The answer to this question seems to me you must be an unqualified yes. Why air pollution should be considered any different from that of Norway's glare or general sanitation or other aspects of the physical and chemical surroundings in general is not clear to me. After all a city or community zoning is not only very common but it's also burial of an important purpose of zoning. My opinion is to achieve is to achieve the objectives suggested by the question you ask.
Based on your own experience Mr. Rand is industry making a a well planned or deliberate effort to minimize air pollution. Barry definitely has Doctor Who's do you think it's likely that as time progresses that the. Well even the most stringent reasonable air pollution regulations would be met and satisfied. What clear answer to that cannot be given unless it is made clear what is meant by the words. The most stringent of air pollution regulations the words used in the question. Since there is a great variety as to the sources the types the duration the concentration of pollutants from one geographical area to another. The air pollution problem in a given area might be completely resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned. With not meeting not in some other geographical area may be considered as an air pollution. They are stringent air pollution regulations. Probably
the best way to answer the question. Is to say that as time goes on a well-planned deliberate coup operative and progresses have on the part of industry. Transportation and the public as a home. Will result in substantial reduction in the amount of air pollutants in the area where such pollutants are a concern in terms of creating air pollution problems. There must however in our opinion be no control merely for the sake of control. Mr. Bright in your own industry and in the in the steel industry for example. Is it economically feasible for the steel manufacturers to make progress and expand and still be a good neighbor as far as air pollution control is concerned. Oh I think so there are of course exceptions to the rule. In other words there are some areas in which the conditions as to air pollution and the conditions as to the competitive position of the industry are such that the industry cannot only
not progress or expand but may be forced out of business. If the good neighbor policy with respect to air pollution control isn't forced harshly and without regard to the benefits reasonably attainable. Mr. Brand is it your belief that the technological advancements of both in the processing of air cleaning the field are such that we will soon reach the point where in the steel industry again that all of significant sources of air pollution will be satisfactorily control. The technological advances in both the processing and air cleaning field. Are such that nearly all important sources so air pollution can be satisfactorily controlled. You know the very important consideration of cost is ignored. Many air pollution control installations are extremely costly. By way of example you may be interested to know effectively our pollution control at a single open hearth
furnace cost about $800000 in today's market. Since a single large steel plant may have an excess of 30 such premises complete equipment for the open heart shops alone would cost more than 24 million dollars to install. To say nothing of the operating cost of a very substantial sum. What is more and this is very important. Such expenditure does not increase either the efficiency of the production rate or the production rate of the plant one iota. Obviously then so long as this continues to be sown and regrettably there is no breakthrough in evidence at this time as regards symbol and less costly methods of air pollution control it seems more than likely that some sources of air pollution will not be satisfactorily controlled to use your term in the near future. Mr Bryant is an economically practical for the steel industry to
apply air cleaning equipment to some of the older production facilities in order to comply with the somewhat strange and the limitations of say Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay area. It is the limitations of air pollution control. While there are exam exceptions as I'm sure you understand and appreciate that he was just to every rule or general statement they answer this question as I see it is no there are plants or production units within plants in the steel industry which are borderline in so far as the economics of operation are concerned. In fact these are not rare in such instances. Stringent limitations such as contained in the laws Angelos or the San Francisco Bay Area Air pollution control regulations very likely will force the closing of some such plants or units within such a plant. As a matter of fact. I know a lot Mote it still operations which were borderline and not truly
competitive in so far as the economics of operation are concerned of the time regulation too wasn't acted by the San Francisco Bay area district which since have then closed down. Mr Brandt from your own experience and observations in the steel industry. We reached the point where new facilities that can be provided with satisfactory air cleaning equipment on a voluntary basis are always a stellar matter because of competition and other things are satisfying the legal requirements of the area. Why I believe it's fair to say that as a general rule all new facilities which are known to be significant sources of air pollutants of concern in the area are provided as satisfactory air cleaning equipment. Even though there may not be air pollution control regulations in the area in question to be sure there are exceptions to this rule. But as indicated previously industry generally is taking the matter of air pollution control very seriously.
Mr. Brandon in terms of the health of the citizen and the role of the general community good. Are we talking about a disproportionate sum of money when we ask the steel industry to apply the types of control equipment that we know will work. Well to the best of my knowledge plants steel plants that is do not I mean there are pollutants of such nature and duration and concentration in the nearby community as to constitute a chronic health hazard. Admittedly if the meteorological conditions are adverse for several days running the concentrations may reach levels which would be a concern if such conditions persisted for shall we say an extended period of time. Actually in so far as steel plants are concerned and it is steel that I can talk about with some authority the problem is one of nuisance considerations are as stated in the questions the general
community good to apply effective air pollution control devices on all air pollutants sources of a given steel plant would involve a disproportionate sum of money in so far as the returns achieved in the way the general community good are concerned. This is not to say that nothing should be done but rather the control of some sources cannot be justified on an economical basis is the most important thing that must be done in air pollution control and his whole matter is determining whether a problem does exist where people live or where their property is well created. And secondly and I don't know whether there is a problem but defining that problem now defining it in what way Mr. Bragg while they're determining what are the air pollutants themselves what is the effect in other words is the problem one of dust fog must the people wipe their windows seals to frequently sweep off their front porches too much. If so your problem is essentially particulate of large particle
diameter. If it is one of discovering the of the ceilings as we say upper precipitation rather than sapping by gravity then it is one suspended and small diameter particle of matter. If it is one of order it means determining what that order really is and resolving that order. There is no sense writing regulations against particulate matter if one is over a border of hydrogen sulfide which is again us. The point is that we do not like regulation for regulation sake. And until a problem in any area has been defined it cannot be regulated to the economic advantage of everyone concerned. In your opinion Mr. Brad is the technology advanced to the point where air pollution could be eliminated if there was a deliberate conscientious effort on the part of everybody concerned this means government the citizens and industry too. Well depending upon your definition of the term air pollution the words you used. Total air pollution never can be eliminated. It is conceivable Of course that the
situation in this country may reach a point where all air pollution problems as distinguished from air pollution has been resolved. However because of constantly changing conditions it is unlikely that even such an ideal goal ever will actually be reached and occasional isolated air pollution problem can hardly be avoided. Mr. Brett other can conditions in which air pollution control officials ought to be willing to compromise their standards too in order to enable expansion of industry. Yes I think so. They conventional arbitrary type of emission source requirements or standards should be compromised not only to enable the expansion of industry but to result in a more reasonable and logical control program. This all goes back to the point made previously as you recall. That is the regulation. I think the source should be based on the conditions existing where the people live and where their property is
located to frequently stack concentrations or mass emission rates are regulated on a strictly arbitrary basis. Regulation of the stack is all right so long as that regulation is based clearly on achieving the reduction of the pollutant or the pollutants necessary to solve an air pollution problem known to exist where the people are where their property is located. That was Dr. Alan brand manager of industrial health engineering for Bethlehem Steel Company. Dr. Brandt is related the general attitudes of one segment of industry toward some air pollution problems on the next program we'll continue to survey air pollution and industry. I am I am I am I am. Hold your breath was produced by Patrick Ford of 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. Eustis commissioner of health for the state of Michigan. These programs are distributed through the facilities of the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the n AB Radio Network.
- Hold your breath
- Producing Organization
- Michigan State University
- WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
Interviewee: Brandt, Alan
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: 63-36-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Hold your breath; Air pollution and the industries, part one,” 1963-10-22, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-kw57jc92.
- MLA: “Hold your breath; Air pollution and the industries, part one.” 1963-10-22. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 28, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-kw57jc92>.
- APA: Hold your breath; Air pollution and the industries, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-kw57jc92