Poisoned Air

April 6, 1955

Report Outline
Concern Over Poisoning of Atmosphere
Nature and Effects of Air Contamination
Problems in Control of Air Pollution
Dangers of Radioactivity and Fail-Out

Concern Over Poisoning of Atmosphere

Pollution of the atmosphere in urban areas of the United States, once no more than a tolerable annoyance, in the short space of 15 years has become a disturbing threat with overtones of deadly menace. Smoke that used to darken and smirch cities like Pittsburgh has given place to the smog that periodically chokes Los Angeles and other American communities. Meanwhile, people of country and city alike, east and west, face a dread evil of uncertain proportions in the new phenomenon of radioactive fall-out.

Up to World War II, control of air pollution was mostly a question of smoke abatement. Since then the vast growth of industrial production, and in particular the expansion of the chemical industries, have made air contamination much more difficult to deal with and potentially, if not always actually, much more damaging to the health and property of the inhabitants of industrial communities. Now there is the new and general threat that the air may be poisoned by radioactivity, heavily if nuclear weapons are used in war, less heavily but possibly with disastrous long-range effects if nuclear test explosions become too numerous.

Prospective Increase In Federal Research Funds

Both the intensification and the newness of the problem of air contamination are evidenced by the fact that it was not until last year that the U. S. Public Health Service had funds for and initiated a specific air pollution program. The extent of the menace of radioactive fall-out is still in the realm of controversy. The lower house of Congress showed that it took a grave view of dangers from that source in case of war when it amended the Independent Offices Appropriation bill from the floor, Mar. 30, to authorize the Federal Civil Defense Administration to use a $30 million fund to buy fall-out detection devices for distribution among local civil defense agencies.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Air Pollution
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