Hold your breath; Air pollution and the industries, part three
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 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 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 aspect of this national problem from health effect to economic considerations will be discussed. Air pollution will be viewed by legislators. Scientists and public held vigil representatives of a theory of why.
We challenge you to draw some logical and responsible conclusions. The air pollution and control problems faced by the more than 300000 manufacturing establishments in the United States vary widely. At the National Conference on air pollution it was emphasized that air pollution control involves not only the installation of control equipment but may involve process and raw material modifications. One problem shared mutually by industries institutions municipal operations and the like is the pollution resulting from fuel consumption among fuels the use of coal has frequently been blamed for polluting the air. Dr used as learned more about the problem by talking with Mr. Harry Bowman of the National Coal it's all CA ssion. Mr. Bowman many communities look upon the combustion of coal as a serious source of air pollution. Is it possible to burn coal with an obviously clean effluent.
Yes. In fact a new plant today can be so designed that few if any people would be aware of that. There were even fires in the furnace. Unfortunately the image of a coal burning plant is based upon the old heating system we had in our own home some 10 or 20 years ago in a dark dirty basement lighted by a 25 watt bulb in which many of us labored over the early morning in the late night to keep ourselves warm. I hope that if this discussion does nothing more than to dispel that image it will be of great value to everyone. There are coal fired plants today
operating around the country that have to be pointed out as coal fired plants to make people aware that they are using coal as a fuel. What about the plant that has been in existence for some time. What can they do. They can do much to improve their situation. And this I mean short of a complete new plan. The division which I represent the air pollution control division of National Coal Association has surveyed many cities in this country encompassing literally thousands of plants and it's only been a very small percentage that has in a sense updated complete rehabilitation to obtain a clean stack. Minor changes the addition of some of his own
arrays. Better operation has done wonders in many plants and this can be effective. And again I point out when there is a firm reasonable continuing control program development some communities through legislation or rules that have placed restrictions on the type of call that may be used. Could you comment on this both from the standpoint of coal costs and air pollution control in the first place. The fuel restrictions are somewhat a matter of the past. These were used to control the air pollution primarily from hand fired plants. To date not many of these aren't in existence even as older plants here for
instance is a place where if we are called in we would suggest that they no longer manually or hand fire the plant but rather go do some type of automatic coal firing device. With automatic all firing devices the only fuel restriction that I am aware of is that the fuel you is done that equipment lies within the limitations of the design of the plant. And is it reasonable to expect that a large coal burning facilities can continue to burn coal and have clean stakes vate not only can but it is most essential that they do with our increase in population and industrial activity. We have become a nation not based upon money not based upon man power
but a nation based upon energy. It is my considered opinion that to date all nations are concerned with energy sources. This is important really require large sums of energy to do space work. We need great sums of energy for transportation at rapid speeds around the world. We need energy for all of the electrical appliances that we're using today. This energy must be generated and as long as this must be done fuels will be burned and the engineer is meeting the challenge of burning this fuel with a clean stock. In today's modern plant just about one we've been talking a bit about the visible pollution of the air. There's
another problem that is in the in the so-called gaseous products of combustion particularly the sulfur gases. Is it economically feasible as a procedure will be developed to take care of this. Sulfur gases are a problem in the atmosphere of every city in these United States or indeed any community in the United States. And I think the basic reason for this is lies in the fact that all basic materials do have some sulfur content. Most all of the studies that have attacked the gaseous pollutants have first attacked the reduction. First have made the effort to reduce the sulfur oxide in the atmosphere and this has been true whether this community burned because all or other fuels
so that we cannot necessarily say that a specific fuel or a specific source is responsible for the sulfur oxides. No I'm not saying this to confuse the issue or as a defensive mechanism. There is so for in coal and it varies in all parts of the country in quantity or given unit of coal. Sulzberger Well eventually have to be removed either from the stack gases or possibly from the coal itself. At the present time there are three agencies to my best knowledge working on this subject. They are there but to miscall research laboratories U.S. Bureau of Mines and I believe TVA is also doing some work. We feel that within the next few years we will have a
breakthrough in both a control of the sulfur in the coal and the possibility of cleaning the stack gases and reducing the sulfur emitted to the atmosphere. And this is a reasonable thing that we can expect in the not too distant future if the work that is now being done continues its rapid progress. And it's been rather good. Yes in the near future the industry feels strongly that this is important enough to continue not only our industry but many of the consuming the consumers of coal the large industries that consume coal have thought sufficiently well of this that they have joined in these research projects with the coal industry. Mr Harry Bollman speaking for the national call association pointing up some of the problems and myths connected with the combustion of coal in industrial and domestic situations. We wanted to get an outside view of the relation between the burning of
coal and pollution of the air. So we visited resources Research Incorporated this organization of consulting engineers has long been active in pollution control serving the interests of both industry and government. Their president is Dr. Louis C. McCabe. Well it's much easier to burn coal in the larger installations where the equipment is the latest that it's available say our power plants it's to their interest to burn a cold smokeless links because obviously they want to recover all the heat possible from the cold if it's part of it goes up in smoke why they're paying for that ice and getting no immediate use of the heat value of the coal. But and that goes too for even down to the relatively small industries such as laundries and so on. But where the householder it's a quite a difficult thing to get him to fire is
furnished with coal and not produce smoke. That's demonstrated when the house heating comes on in the winter in many many said it should because that industry will be relatively clean and free of smoke all year but when winter comes the householder uses Coley burns it inefficiently and has poor equipment and the smoke readings. Become greater. But in recent years that's meant alleviated very much by natural gas being made to the householder and feel oil to us as well. With all the difficulties encountered in the domestic use of coal we asked Mr. McCabe if there was help available to prevent undue pollution of the air by domestic coal burners. The coal are going to the station beginning with National Coalition sociate Xing and local organisation
sales organisation and so on called do provide a service for that purpose. Of course one of our difficulties was firing coal is quite often the housewife does it and she may not be possible to train the people to do to fire a coal by hand particularly. Now if you use mechanical equipment there is. Stove stokers are available that will bring cold smokeless me and automatically those are available and of course they have their well belt and because I guess we've had stokers in use now for 30 years. There not as many being sold as there once was for the reason that other fields have come in and taken place of coal as the industrial complex in this country grows so grows the potential for pollution of the air by those industries.
Whether this potential becomes actual depends upon effort expended by the industries themselves and the communities in which they are located. At the National Conference on air pollution in December of nine thousand nine hundred two it was stated an assessment of municipal levels of control effort for a recent 10 year period indicated that we are actually losing ground in our fight against air pollution. The average community has not increased its abatement efforts in proportion to its growth unquote. The abatement effort must be made by industries as well as by communities. Many industries are well aware of this responsibility. We talked about it with Dr. Edward Adams associate director of bio chemical research department at Dow Chemical Company in Midland Michigan. Well now is the industry in general and the communities. Are they working together effectively do you think to minimize air pollution at the present time. I have personally been involved in air pollution far just a little
over 10 years and in that period of time I have seen that industry people particularly top management have become very much aware of the matter of the problem of air pollution. And certainly they are doing far far more now about pollution than they were 10 years ago. What has been the reason for this increase in the interest of top management in the problem. That is difficult to answer. Speaking for the chemical industry I believe one factor is simply this that the industries through its association the manufacturing chemists association as. I've simply been studying the matter.
The manufacturing chemists Association has this air pollution abatement committee and they have been studying the matter. This committee of the association has been putting out technical bulletins on the subject and they have also put out this air pollution abatement manual a lot in view of this in view of this voluntary effort. And speaking our. Solely of the chemical industry you think that it's reasonable to expect that the necessary control of air pollution can be obtained on a voluntary basis by that and by that industry without the need for any regulation on the part of government. It is my observation that at the present time the chemical industry is doing quite a bit to abate existing pollution.
And in the building of new play ends to prevent pollution prevent any new pollution. I have become aware recently however of a particular problem and it amounts simply to this that without any prior guide management has difficulty in determining just how far to go Lot level of pollution would be acceptable. It is difficult to determine in many cases and as a result of this I see recently that there may well be a need for some legislation even though industry all industry is perfectly willing to
control the pollution to the necessary level. Do I interpret what you said correctly too to mean that the real need is for the establishment of agreed upon standards to more or less point the way one should go on a voluntary basis. Yes I think that's one way of stating that. We need we will need legislation of some Sarte or a government control of some sired not to compel people to do something about air pollution so much as to determine and to indicate lot level of control is necessary AR is desired by society. Legislation which would serve as tolerance guide for pollution control raises an interesting economic problem. In your opinion is the local community that pretty much is dependent upon
industry for its tax base and economic support it is this local community and in position to impose the necessary air pollution controls on its industry. None of us can disagree with the fact that the all communities are dependent upon source of income. And of course Commerce and Industry is the source of income. With those exceptions of cities that have large universities and in a sense these are industries too. I do not believe however and I know that the courts I think in West Virginia indicated that because an industry is the source of income of a community that this gives them any right to pollute the air as they see fit. There is an obligation of the industry to its people to do the best it can in establishing
standards of air purity. On the other side of the pollution going from legislative coercion or direction giving is the voluntary control by the sources themselves. Mr Harry Ballman of the National Coal Association was asked by a doctor he was just from your experience. Do you think it's possible to have an effective air pollution control program money on a voluntary basis of days without without regard to established governmental standards or rules. I have to say yes to that because I've seen it done. Now here we come back I think to the basic philosophy of a control program. People are the grass roots of any control program. If people desire air pollution control they can have it if they're willing to make the effort. And as I said before pay for this can be done with or without
legislation. All an ordinance or legislation really does is to form an incentive a very forcible incentive to get the job done. But for instance a small community maybe ten thousand people a couple of three plants causing what we know as over the fence. Air pollution. By this I mean it is not an area wide problem but carry carries for several thousand feet. We have worked with such communities and through citizens committees surveys of the plants making recommendations as to what the plant should do and then the Citizens Committee follow up. Success has been attained and the community has been satisfied with the accomplishment. But I would not recommend a volunteer program for a large metropolitan area.
This is an exceptional program. This is a program that is exceptionally bad U-boat to the very small community. They cannot afford an in forcing arm. Why do you take this point that in the larger community the voluntary program which would tend not to work well. The reason is that you have too many diversified interests. Amazingly enough as your community grows in size and I know this will be a challenge but as a community grows in size by and large the civic morale of the community reduces. There's nothing better than the old town meeting type of community and this type of community can exist until you become just so large and then you have a different type of community. So what I am really saying is if the sort of civic morale
of the community is high enough yes. A voluntary program can work as well as anything else. If it isn't then you need enforcement. I think it's a simple sound sound sound reasonable to me. Tell me from your experience with industry Mr. Valma what industry like to know what the air pollution control requirements are before it locates any particular location. We are finding that this is coming becoming more more and more true particularly of the larger types of operations and industry when it builds a new plant can capitalize. The total expenditure of that plant over a period of years. And if they know where the air pollution
requirements the equipment necessary to meet those requirements will be part of the total capital expenditure. However if they go into a community that may not have air pollution control requirements or are not too concise in their requirements and if they had a later date a control law is passed or the present control law is more restrictive then that industry is confronted with an out of pocket expenditure which has to be paid for in one year. What I am saying is that financially from a financial standpoint it is better I think to the large industry to know what it is to be confronted with in air pollution control so it can provide this in its new plant capitalization as industry regard to the
degree of air pollution that will be required to control too that they regard this as an important factor in their location of plants. This is a part of their survey of an area as you know plant sites are sold by old communities over this country. I guess every chamber of commerce every city has a group that attempts to sell new industries sites nearby. This is to increase the economy of the community. Now it used to be that they want to know what was the labor market. The Transportation and the potential market to sell where the basic material come again. Basic materials come from except for a two day on top of the old list of inventories they now have added not only air pollution but water pollution as part
of their evaluation for a site. Do you think the responsible industry that we see today would other things being equal would tend to locate where the air pollution control requirements were less than where they were more rigid. I think we're now in an area of reasonableness and I don't want to use weasel weasel words and reasonable is classified as such a word. I think I understand reasonable but I think if a large industry says that said to a community what you say is reasonable we will need it providing you don't. Two years hence make it more restrictive and then continue to make it more extreme strict of this would be reasonable. But if a community ask for the impossible or economically impossible. Cleanliness then I would say this would be unreasonable. Well if there is then a general reasonable understanding all around would it be
a correct assumption that industry would would welcome knowing what it got into ahead of time and would not be adversely affected by reasonable requirements that is as far as location. I have not known of any plan to find reasonable requirements as a single. Commitment for not locating in an area. It may be part of a whole list of reasons why they don't want to go there but not as the reason has air pollution control benefactor and industry moving from areas to your knowledge. And industry will move or remain not dependent necessarily upon air pollution control activities more important is how much it has invested in that area. More important is how good is the labor market. How well are other people trained. After all moving a large industry is something more than
moving your household goods. And I think any of us who have moved or household goods recognize the wear and tear on the individual. And I think if we multiply this several thousand times we can comprehend what it means for an industry to move. We hope that today's program in the preceding two programs have given you a better understanding of the many problems that confront American industries in the matter of air pollution and its control. Some feel that industry has not accepted its responsibilities fully. Others feel that there has been and you discrimination against industry. Whatever the case we hope that the issues discussed by industry government and health officials and private interests have been clarified through these programs. Harry Bowman summarizes a point of view shared by many industries. We know very little. As I said before about what is in the air it hasn't been sufficiently sampled or monitored. Many of us admit have made educated guesses.
- 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
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-tq5rd52d).
Interviewee: Bowman, Harry
Interviewee: McCabe, Louis Cordell, 1904-
Interviewee: Adams, Edward
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: 63-36-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “Hold your breath; Air pollution and the industries, part three,” 1963-11-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 14, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-tq5rd52d.
- MLA: “Hold your breath; Air pollution and the industries, part three.” 1963-11-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 14, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-tq5rd52d>.
- APA: Hold your breath; Air pollution and the industries, part three. 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-tq5rd52d