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The Baker Lectures. 1975. The Thirty Billion Dollar Problem.
School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1975; :1-15
The environmental problems posed by sulfur oxides are reviewed. The anthropomorphic origins of acid sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere are summarized. Changes in sulfur oxide emissions and sulfur- dioxide (7446095) (SO2) and aerosol concentrations in the atmosphere are discussed. It is noted that in recent years urban emissions of sulfur oxides from industrial sources and power facilities have decreased, while suburban and rural emissions from steam electric power facilities have increased. Power facilities in the eastern United States are geographically located so that moving air particles restore their sulfur faster than aerosols can be removed by natural processes. This increased aerosol loading has been associated with increasing atmospheric turbidity, rain fall acidity, and concentration of sulfate particulates. The adverse health effects are discussed. Exposures to elevated concentrations of sulfur oxides, especially aerosols, are thought to aggravate asthma and preexisting heart and lung disorders. Failure to control sulfur oxide emissions may result in thousands of deaths and millions of illnesses. The author concludes that massive conversion of urban power facilities to high sulfur fuels and the use of tall stacks with supplementary control systems in rural power facilities will greatly increase atmospheric sulfate concentrations, making the problem worse.
Air-contamination; Environmental-pollution; Industrial-hazards; Power-generation; Safety-research; Industrial-chemicals; Toxic-gases; Health-hazards; Safety-measures;
School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 15 pages
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division