Cleaner Air

January 14, 1959

Report Outline
Spreading Plague of Air Contamination
Changes in the Air Pollution Problem
Action to Reduce Air Contamination

Spreading Plague of Air Contamination

Growth of Air Pollution With Urban Growth

Studies linking polluted air over American cities with the growing incidence of lung cancer and other serious diseases have added urgency to widespread demands for stronger laws to clean up the atmosphere. The 86th Congress will be asked to extend and enlarge the federal research and technical assistance program instituted under temporary legislation enacted in 1955 and due to expire next June 30. The Governors' Conference has called for a more intensive attack on air pollution at all levels of government; similar recommendations were made by a National Conference on Air Pollution convened in Washington last November by the Public Health Service. At least 11 states have recently enacted their first air pollution control laws or strengthened existing statutes. Meanwhile, regulatory action by local communities has been growing tougher.

Stronger control laws, however, are not the complete answer to this complex problem. Los Angeles, which has had stringent control measures for a decade, continues to suffer periodically from severe smog conditions. Like other American communities, it lacks the technical data needed to develop a control program that will give full protection to its inhabitants without at the same time restricting economic growth.

The public has tended to blame industry almost exclusively for contaminating the air. Now it is coming to be recognized that the responsibility must be shared by the ordinary citizen himself. The way he heats his home, disposes of domestic refuse, and drives and cares for his car may have a good deal to do with the degree of air pollution. In some communities—Los Angeles, for example—emissions from automobile exhausts are a more serious source of contamination than discharges from industrial plants.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Nov. 13, 2015  Air Pollution and Climate Change
Nov. 14, 2003  Air Pollution Conflict
Jan. 26, 2001  Global Warming Treaty
Mar. 07, 1997  New Air Quality Standards
Nov. 01, 1996  Global Warming
Oct. 27, 1995  Indoor Air Pollution
Apr. 03, 1992  Ozone Depletion
Mar. 08, 1991  Acid Rain: New Approach to Old Problem
Nov. 27, 1987  Air Pollution Countdown
Apr. 10, 1987  Ozone Mystery
Mar. 07, 1986  Acid Rain
Oct. 16, 1981  Wood Fuel's Developing Market
Nov. 21, 1980  Air Pollution Control: Progress and Prospects
Jun. 20, 1980  Acid Rain
Mar. 19, 1976  Ozone Controversy
Apr. 26, 1967  Air Pollution: Rising Threat
Jan. 08, 1964  Air Contamination
Jan. 14, 1959  Cleaner Air
Apr. 06, 1955  Poisoned Air
Aug. 26, 1949  Air Pollution
Air Pollution
Atmospheric Sciences