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It used to be said, "At least the air we breathe is free." For about 30 years that has not been the case in the United States. We are now paying about 10 billion dollars a year in an increasingly difficult effort to maintain our atmosphere at a degree of pollution near current levels. That sum will almost certainly increase as we turn towards alternate energy sources such as coal, shale oil and crude oils with high sulfur contents. It will grow even larger as we learn more about the impacts of various chemical substances, both natural and man made, on the complex ecology in which man exists on this planet.

By contrast one can estimate that about 3 million dollars will be spent this year (1978) on basic research, by all government agencies for learning the molecular details of the chemistry of air pollution. It is perhaps very flattering to the scientific community involved in this effort to consider that such a sum will suffice to make significant progress in the understanding of the chemistry of air pollution. But the scientists involved share no such illusions. In 30 years of research effort we have learned a great deal about the chemistry of our "dirty" atmosphere but we can hardly pretend to give quantitative answers to questions which are increasingly being asked, such as, "What will the effect be on our atmosphere of removing or adding x tons per week of substance A?" Yet important economic decisions rest on the answers to such questions. The sums spent on basic research are dwarfed by the sums now being spent on regulation and abatement. Research funds are the least expensive aspect of the problem of air pollution, and without the answers that they might provide, our expensive efforts may be largely squandered.

The present conference brings together many of the leaders in the basic research effort directed towards air pollution. They have examined the scientific details with a fine microscope and come up with what must seem to the layman an endless multitude of unanswered questions. Some of these may never be answered and some of them need urgently to be resolved. Air pollution will not go away. It will become worse even with current efforts. No city on earth will escape its effects. If we hope to ameliorate it, we must devote a more profound and longer range effort to its understanding than we have done so far. The recommendations of this symposium point the direction these efforts must take. As chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to my fellow colleagues who have given generously of their time and effort towards making this a fruitful meeting.

Sidney W. Benson
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90007


This is a report of the proceedings of a workshop on chemical kinetic data needs for modeling the lower troposphere, held at Reston, Virginia, May 15-17, 1978. The meeting, sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Bureau of Standards, focussed on six key problem areas in tropospheric chemistry: reactions of olefins with hydroxyl radicals and ozone, reactions of aldehydes, free radical reactions, reactions of oxides of nitrogen, reactions of aromatic compounds, and reactions of oxides of sulfur.

The report includes a summary and list of major recommendations for further work, review papers, discussion summaries, contributed comments, recommendations, and an attendance list.

Key words: Aldehydes, aromatics, chemical kinetics, data needs, free

radicals, modeling, NOX, olefins, sox, troposphere.

In order to describe experiments adequately, it has been necessary to identify commercial materials and equipment in this book. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Bureau of Standards, nor does it imply that the material or equipment is necessarily the best available for the purpose.

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