Pollution May Cause 40 Percent of Global Deaths?


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MrGray
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Message 638599 - Posted: 11 Sep 2007, 2:37:46 UTC
Last modified: 11 Sep 2007, 2:38:04 UTC

http://www.livescience.com/environment/070910_pollution_deaths.html

¿
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Message 638868 - Posted: 11 Sep 2007, 15:22:20 UTC - in response to Message 638861.
Last modified: 11 Sep 2007, 15:23:11 UTC

On top.:

Sure one could argue that pollution is leading to more deaths, yada yada (didn't read the article exactly), but I'm quite certain the avg life expectancy has probably doubled (or better) in the last 2 centuries. So you win some you lose some.

Also I read an interesting (though probably highly debateable) bit of climate change knowledge today. It is claimed that driving a car 5km adds 1kg of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere; walking however, uses about 180 calories which is roughly equal to eating 100g of beef and producing that beef releases a total of 3.6kg of carbon dioxide. Interesting huh? Not sure if it all checks out but thank god for cars ey?

hehe I also read similar conclusions. But: They only fit as long as the guesstimates are close to the wanted results. Otherwise I must agree to you: that industrial-like stock-farming IS polluting. It'd be better for the environment if they held the animals in their natural surroundings: meadows instead of concrete buildings, free movement instead of small barns, eating grass (or whatever these animals normally eat) instead of chemically produced pellets. It's the raping of the environment which produces so much pollution. The lack of respect against our surroundings.
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Message 638878 - Posted: 11 Sep 2007, 15:34:36 UTC

Well something i was reading only in the last week about dams being bad greenhouse gas producers. Apparently all the vegetation and animals that are killed by the flooding dies off under all the water and in decomposing it lets off gasses. Thus hydro power can actually be more polluting than fossil fuel based powers.

Back to the beef though and i would think it would have to do with a whole range of things including the fuel used by the farmer in maintaining the farm, the chemicals used in the production of drenches and such, greenhouse gasses produced by the animals themselves, fuel used in transporting the product from farm to slaughterhouse to supermarket depot to supermarket outlet, chemicals used in the production of packaging.

That's quite alot of environmental factors once you get to thinking about it. Says alot for mass-transit and renewable fuel based transport alternatives.
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Message 638915 - Posted: 11 Sep 2007, 20:10:30 UTC

Great points guys.

Thank you!
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Message 638956 - Posted: 11 Sep 2007, 21:17:10 UTC

Pollution of the environment is problem, and frequently it takes years or even decades to show up. In my opinion, solving this problem is even MORE urgent than solving the climate change problem. After all, human-caused environmental pollution has been conclusively proven to be a problem, and human-caused climate change hasn't even been conclusively proven to exist, yet. Plus with climate change, while undoubtedly some would suffer, others might have their lives made easier, for instance as rainfall patterns shift, and growing seasons lengthen. With environmental pollution, we ALL suffer.

Case in point. The city I currently live in gets its drinking water from a lake to the north of us. Just north of that lake, there is another city that has two major universities, and the output of that city's waste water treatment plant winds up in that lake. Well, young people in college, being young, shall we say 'play around' a lot. Many of the young women are on hormonal birth control. Where do all of these excess, artificial sex hormones wind up? In the lake.

There are levels of these hormones in the lake FAR above the threshold of detection. Levels high enough, in fact, to disturb the sexual development of the fish in that lake. Who knows what effect it might be having on all of us that drink water from that lake? It might take years or decades before a pattern emerges.

Another case in point, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). These hideous chemicals persist in the environment for a very long time indeed. In laboratory tests, PCBs have been shown to induce behavioral changes and reduced intellectual capacity in animals.

What about people you ask? Well, PCBs concentrate in animals the further up the food chain one goes. Studies conducted in areas where the fish have high levels of PCBs in their bodies have shown that when women eat a lot of the fish when they are pregnant and/or nursing, their children exhibit the same changes the test animals did. So, human produced environmental pollution doesn't exactly have to kill us to cause us problems.

Link to 1996 NYT article about the PCB study.

The list of proven links between environmental pollution and human disease/death is, sadly, very long indeed. THIS is just about the most important problem we face on this planet, with the possible exception of getting along with each other and not going to war over religious, political, economic, ethnic, and cultural differences every time a dog breaks wind.

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Message 639159 - Posted: 12 Sep 2007, 2:00:23 UTC

When discussing environmental pollution as oppossed to climate change it is important to note that while climate change is difficult to regulate due to its global nature environmental pollution can be much more region specific.

For instance if Australia has laws and regulations working to prevent nuclear meltdowns but China does not then will I be seriously affected when one of China's under regulated plants has an incident and renders a large part of that country useless? Probably not, though it would be a shame.

For some types of environmental pollution there are obvious and relatively simple remedies. Examples might include McDonald's withdrawing the styrofoam containers, and laws preventing toxic waste being released untreated into rivers/lakes. I would imagine, without knowing what details about PCBs, that they could be simply outlawed much like the use of CFCs was outlawed in the 90s.

For other problems it is much more difficult to find a simple solution. Problems such as hormones in waste water are a difficult to solve as they play such a vital role in birth control. It is easy to see that the benefit outweighs the cost. Further it is difficult to envision a safer alternative (and I'm aware that some purists out there are going to advocate abstinence but thats not a workable alternative).


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Message 639165 - Posted: 12 Sep 2007, 2:24:39 UTC - in response to Message 639159.

For instance if Australia has laws and regulations working to prevent nuclear meltdowns but China does not then will I be seriously affected when one of China's under regulated plants has an incident and renders a large part of that country useless? Probably not, though it would be a shame.


Not to be picky or anything. But if there is a nuclear meltdown and explosion at a power plant, the effect will be widespread. Australia may not be affected directly (it could depending on factors like size of explosion, wind and weather) but it will be affected indirectly (through changes in the world).

Remember, Chernobyl? That affected a lot of areas.

From Wikipedia:

"The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (now Ukraine) was the worst nuclear accident in history and is the only event to receive an INES score of 7. The power excursion and resulting steam explosion and fire spread radioactive contamination across large portions of Europe. A large 2005 study found that the death toll includes the 50 workers who died of acute radiation syndrome, nine children who died from thyroid cancer, and an estimated 4000 excess cancer deaths in the future, added to an estimated 100,000 cancer deaths in this population due to other factors."

"The plume drifted over parts of the Western Soviet Union Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Northern Europe, and Eastern North America. Large areas of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were badly contaminated, resulting in the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people. According to official post-Soviet data, about 60% of the radioactive fallout landed in Belarus."


As for how seriously you would be affected? Who knows. You won't until it happens. But you hope that it never does and you have to find out...

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Message 639174 - Posted: 12 Sep 2007, 2:31:01 UTC - in response to Message 639159.

When discussing environmental pollution as oppossed to climate change it is important to note that while climate change is difficult to regulate due to its global nature environmental pollution can be much more region specific.

For instance if Australia has laws and regulations working to prevent nuclear meltdowns but China does not then will I be seriously affected when one of China's under regulated plants has an incident and renders a large part of that country useless? Probably not, though it would be a shame.

For some types of environmental pollution there are obvious and relatively simple remedies. Examples might include McDonald's withdrawing the styrofoam containers, and laws preventing toxic waste being released untreated into rivers/lakes. I would imagine, without knowing what details about PCBs, that they could be simply outlawed much like the use of CFCs was outlawed in the 90s.


They already have been banned. Long ago. In 1973, some uses of PCBs were banned, domestic manufacture of PCBs was banned in 1978, with the UK following suit in 1983. The only PCBs still in use are in equipment from before the ban.

The problem with PCBs is their extreme persistence in the environment. While most release of PCBs happened in urban areas, they have spread globally. You can even detect them far north of the arctic circle. PCBs are nasty stuff, and unfortunately there isn't much that can be done about what has already been released.

This illustrates my point. We are dumping huge amounts of stuff into the environment, and we don't really know the effects it will have years, decades, or centuries from now.

For other problems it is much more difficult to find a simple solution. Problems such as hormones in waste water are a difficult to solve as they play such a vital role in birth control. It is easy to see that the benefit outweighs the cost. Further it is difficult to envision a safer alternative (and I'm aware that some purists out there are going to advocate abstinence but thats not a workable alternative).


Yes, this is a sticky situation, all right. There are some solutions, but people won't like them. Much like the 'climate change problem'. There is, at this point in our technology, only one solution. People won't like *it* either.

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Message 640237 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 13:35:12 UTC - in response to Message 638599.

http://www.livescience.com/environment/070910_pollution_deaths.html

¿


Pollution and waste products are two big problem I deal with on a daily basis. Any process for creating a product from raw materials will create a waste stream. These waste materials can be anything from harmless gases (H2O) to toxic solids (heavy metals). I have the added problem that the product itself can be a pollutant if released into the environment before it is completed.

How do I deal with these problems? Environmental controls. If the waste stream is handled properly, it poses no danger to the environment. More environmental controls need to be in place in a large part of corporate America. The main reason these are not put in place is cost. This is where politics comes into play. The government needs to implement fines that far surpass the cost of compliance. Companies would then be swayed to implement controls. Until the fines are enacted, corporations will continue to rid themselves of waste products by the cheapest methods available.

On a lighter note - 40% of the population may die from pollution but that's better than dying while in bed with an escort if you are a leading member of the right wing. ;)
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Message 640268 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 14:09:48 UTC

Just as a footnote...there are over 60,000 man made chemical compounds, of which less than 1% have been extensively tested for toxicity.
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Message 640278 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 14:40:35 UTC - in response to Message 640268.

Just as a footnote...there are over 60,000 man made chemical compounds, of which less than 1% have been extensively tested for toxicity.


That 1% are only the tastey ones. We can't get the grad students to try the ones that taste like crap.
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Message 640281 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 14:44:49 UTC - in response to Message 640278.
Last modified: 13 Sep 2007, 14:47:27 UTC

Just as a footnote...there are over 60,000 man made chemical compounds, of which less than 1% have been extensively tested for toxicity.


That 1% are only the tastey ones. We can't get the grad students to try the ones that taste like crap.

I remember making aritifical food flavorings in Chemistry class. Although fairly safe, the actual ingredients by themselves can be toxic...they tend to neutralize each other once mixed. Amyl alcohol being one of them...hydrochloric acid another.
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Message 640342 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 16:11:18 UTC - in response to Message 640237.

The main reason these are not put in place is cost. This is where politics comes into play. The government needs to implement fines that far surpass the cost of compliance. Companies would then be swayed to implement controls. Until the fines are enacted, corporations will continue to rid themselves of waste products by the cheapest methods available.


Problem is this:

US and Australia (for example) decide to be proactive on environment and put in place an agreement to enforce strict standards punishable by hefty fines. Business finds a simple solution by moving the manufacturing process to China where no such standards exist and they can freely exercise the cheapest (often polluting) method of dealing with waste products.

Best solution is to encourage companies to find ways of turning waste products into useful commodities. Often it can be done. Companies tend not to do it because there can be high costs initially and also because the new business is outside of the companies core competencies. However, government support might make such programs more attractive and encourage production companies to remain in developed countries AND minimise environmental impact.

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Message 640349 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 16:16:33 UTC - in response to Message 640342.

The main reason these are not put in place is cost. This is where politics comes into play. The government needs to implement fines that far surpass the cost of compliance. Companies would then be swayed to implement controls. Until the fines are enacted, corporations will continue to rid themselves of waste products by the cheapest methods available.


Problem is this:

US and Australia (for example) decide to be proactive on environment and put in place an agreement to enforce strict standards punishable by hefty fines. Business finds a simple solution by moving the manufacturing process to China where no such standards exist and they can freely exercise the cheapest (often polluting) method of dealing with waste products.

Best solution is to encourage companies to find ways of turning waste products into useful commodities. Often it can be done. Companies tend not to do it because there can be high costs initially and also because the new business is outside of the companies core competencies. However, government support might make such programs more attractive and encourage production companies to remain in developed countries AND minimise environmental impact.


What we need is a transfer rule like the NCAA. If you move your company from the US to China, you can't sell your product in the US for at least a year.

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Message 640357 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 16:23:22 UTC

Lol yeah. That's probably a pretty good deterent for companies planning to leave the US, I'm just not convinced it'll work so great for Aust :-P
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Message 640440 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 18:56:34 UTC - in response to Message 638915.

Great points guys.

Thank you!

Go Gray!!

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Message 640442 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 18:59:29 UTC - in response to Message 640268.

Just as a footnote...there are over 60,000 man made chemical compounds, of which less than 1% have been extensively tested for toxicity.

hehehehe =)

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Message 640477 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 19:40:51 UTC

One good way to reduce pollution is not to have children until age 25 or later and have no more than two during the total lifetime (supply two gametes). Of course this would have to be a worldwide effort.
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Message 640562 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 21:57:08 UTC - in response to Message 640477.

One good way to reduce pollution is not to have children until age 25 or later and have no more than two during the total lifetime (supply two gametes). Of course this would have to be a worldwide effort.

...been saying that for years...few are listening, least of all the Islamics, Catholics, Mormons, Anabapists, etc.
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Message 640645 - Posted: 13 Sep 2007, 23:42:32 UTC - in response to Message 640562.

...been saying that for years...few are listening, least of all the Islamics, Catholics, Mormons, Anabapists, etc.


Mm I would say that Africans and Asians are the rabbits.
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