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Draft Report on Health Effects of
EPA has forwarded a revised The Boston Globe
between 150,000 and 300,000 draft report on passive
commented: “ ... There is acute lower respiratory smoking to its Scientific no longer a shadow of doubt infections, such as bronchitis Advisory Board for review. that tobacco smoking is a and pneumonia, in children At the same time, the Agency major public health threat, less than 18 months of age. made the report available to worst for smokers but
These produce between 7,500
smoke-tainted space. Last smokers are more likely to Disorders, the report
week three national health become asthmatic. Secondary incorporates important
organizations—the American tobacco smoke exacerbates revisions to a draft published Heart Association, the
asthmatic symptoms in two years ago. In publishing American Lung Association, approximately 20 percent of the new draft, the Agency and the American Cancer the country's 2 million to 5 emphasized that the Society-declared that
million asthmatic children, independent scientific review 'secondary smoke' should be and is a risk factor in by the Board could result in treated as an 'environmental
triggering between 8,000 and substantial additional
toxin' and banned from the 26,000 new cases of asthma changes. A final report
workplace and public spaces. per year. More generally, should be available by the This week the Environmental secondhand smoke increases end of the year.
Protection Agency issued a the prevalence of coughing,
and reduced lung function
also suggests a link between ei secondary tobacco smoke and PA sudden infant death
legu syndrome. Finally, it
ерс estimates that secondary
Labi smoke causes between 2,500
Dco and 3,300 lung-cancer deaths Safe per year. This report, focused on solely on respiratory problems, leaves out heart mp disease, which other studies have estimated causes about
lres half of the nation's tobacco-related deaths and 37,000 deaths per year among
ind nonsmokers ....
еро The Wall Street Journal
usti reported: " ... The report now goes to the agency's science advisory board,
tud which can either accept it or
ort send it back for
leci modifications. Following the board's approval, the report will be sent to EPA Chief
Ath William Reilly, who may order further changes or
isbe release it. Agency officials predict the final report will
Acid Rain Emissions Limits Proposed for Over 900 Power Plants
One hundred and ten of the
of the century, over 800
Acid Rain Formation
percent of sulfur dioxide
allo contributor to acid rain.
Under the 1990 Clean Air pallo Act, each power plant is to be issued emissions
ent allowances. Each allowance
hat equals one ton of SO2 emissions per year. The number of allowances a plant pall gets is determined by formulated and is based in large part on
sel the plant's past consumption the of fuel. As the program gets
alg underway in 1995, each plantach must hold enough allowances effe to cover its annual emissions. 10 It can meet its requirement either by reducing emissions or by purchasing allowances In from other utilities. For everyone ton of SO2 a plant emits in excess of its allowances, it
be issued by year end. The EPA is barred by law from regulating smoking, but the report is expected to spur the
Labor Department's u Occupational Health and
Safety Administration to act to restrict smoking in the nation's workplaces. Many
employers and localities e across the country have ot already banned or restricted
smoking in offices and factories. Action on Smoking and Health, an anti-smoking organization, predicts the report will make 'Americans
justifiably fearful of being in 7 any
enclosed area where smoking is permitted.' The
study provides new support te for the agency's earlier
decision to declare the
secondhand smoke a known mt human carcinogen, putting it
in the same category with such pollutants as asbestos ....
The Situation Today Putting the Crusade into Perspective
Recycling and waste generation both are on the rise
by William E. Franklin and Marjorie A. Franklin
because it means generating less waste in the first place. Very simply, waste that isn't generated never enters the waste stream.
ust about everyone in the United from residences (such as houses, States seems to think that there is
duplexes, apartments), from too much municipal solid waste
commercial establishments (such as (MSW). Newspaper articles and
office buildings, stores, hotels, airports, television programs bombard us with warehouses), from institutions (such as images of discards heaped up and schools, prisons, hospitals), and from overflowing. Schoolchildren are
industries (such as packaging and probably more aware than most; just office wastes from factories). MSW visit a school and view the children's does not include industrial process posters exhorting people to save the wastes. Earth by recycling.
Of course, as the population There's no doubt that the problem is increases, there are more people to growing. EPA's most recent estimates
generate waste. But even without the are that in 1990 the United States
population increase, we would be generated over 195 million tons of
generating more waste per person both MSW. That's up from about 88 million at work and at home. EPA estimates tons in 1960, and 151 million tons in the rate at 4.3 pounds of MSW per 1980. EPA defines MSW as wastes
person per day in 1990, up from 2.7
problem of MSW is integrated waste Marge Franklin, president of Franklin management. This means that, in most Associates, has been a municipal solid cases, no single alternative should be waste consultant since 1975. Part of relied upon; each community should this article was based on a speech tailor a combination of methods to delivered at EPA's Municipal Solid match its particular needs. However, Waste Source Reduction and Recycling there is a generally accepted hierarchy Conference, Hot Springs, Virginia, of waste management alternatives that March 1988. Most of the statistics in
goes like this: the article are from Characterization of
• Source reduction-reducing wastes Municipal Solid Waste in the United
at their source and reusing States: 1992 Update, EPA Report No.
products—is the best alternative 530-R-92-019.)
• Recycling and composting are next
Unfortunately, endorsing this hierarchy is a little like saying you're going to lose weight; it's easier said than done. In the first place, no one has devised an acceptable way to measure source reduction on a nationwide basis, and it is difficult to estimate the effect that current efforts are having on the waste stream.
Nevertheless, there are many examples of source reduction currently in practice: Many offices are reducing waste by copying reports on both sides
less than 1 percent of total MSW even if they were not recovered at all.
of the paper; many marketers of
total MSW was landfilled in 1990 than consumer products are finding ways to in 1985. reduce packaging.
If recycling is to be used as a Also, while efforts in recycling and genuine MSW management alternative, composting have increased
rather than just a "feel good” way to tremendously in the past few years, conserve resources, then materials people wonder whether they're really must be recovered and made into new making a difference. EPA's estimates of products in large quantities. how MSW was managed in 1960 and Unfortunately, some of the products in 1990 show that recovery for
that are relatively easy to identify and recycling and composting increased recycle economically are not very big from almost 6 million tons in 1960 to factors in the waste stream. To cite two over 33 million tons in 1990. At the examples: same time, the amount of MSW burned
• Lead-acid automotive batteries were increased only slightly. On the other
recovered at a rate of over 96 percent hand, the United States landfilled
in 1990. This is an impressive number, about 130 million tons of MSW in
and keeping lead out of landfills and 1990 compared to 55 million tons in
combustors is highly desirable from an 1960, an increase of 137 percent.
environmental standpoint. However, Looking at the recent past, the
these batteries would be less than 1 picture is a little brighter. MSW
percent of all MSW even if they were generation continued to increase
not recovered at all. steadily, but recovery for recycling and composting made a big increase from • Recovery of aluminum beverage more than 16 million tons (less than cans is one of the great success stories 10 percent of generation) in 1985 to of recycling, perhaps the greatest. over 33 million tons (17 percent) in Their recovery rate was well over 60 1990. This is an increase of 104
percent in 1990, and, since they bring percent, not bad for starters.
a good price, aluminum cans are an Incineration also termed
important economic factor in recycling combustion also increased in this programs. On the other hand, period, so the best estimate is that less aluminum beverage cans would also be
So what can be recycled that will have a real impact? By weight, the four largest components of MSW generation in 1990 were: yard trimmings (18 percent), corrugated boxes (12 percent), food wastes (7 percent), and newspapers (7 percent).
The yard trimmings and food wastes can be composted; the corrugated boxes and newspapers are highly recyclable. By going after these components, which really make a difference in the waste stream, communities can make some real reductions in what has to be disposed of. In fact, that is exactly what happened to achieve the 17 percent recovery rate in 1990. Paper products were nearly 63 percent of all recovery in 1990, and recovery of yard trimmings for composting made up nearly 13 percent. Recovery of glass, metals, plastics, rubber, and other materials made up the remaining 25 percent. What's been accomplished gives some guidance as to what must be done to increase recycling and composting in the future. That is,