Editorial. It's your health - Environmental Science & Technology (ACS

Dec 1, 1975 - Editorial. It's your health. Stanton Miller. Environ. Sci. Technol. , 1975 ... ACS Legacy Archive. Note: In lieu of an abstract, this is...
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Editor: Russeil F . Christman Associate Editor. Charles R . O’Meiia WASHINGTON EDITORIAL STAFF Managing Editor: Stanton S. Miller Associate Editor: Julian Josephson Assistant Editor: Lois R . Ember MANUSCRIPT REVIEWING Manager: Katherine I . Biggs Assistant Editor: David Hanson MANUSCRIPT EDiTlNG Associate Production Manager: Charlotte C Sayre Assistant Editor. Gloria L. Dinote GRAPHICS AND PRODUCTION Production Manager: Leroy L. Corcoran Art Director. Norman Favin Artist: Diane J. Reich

Advisory Board: P. L. Brezonik, Joseph J Bufalini, Arthur A. Levin, James J. Morgan, Sidney R . Orem, Frank P. Sebastian, John H. Seinfeld, C. Joseph Touhill. Charles S. Tuesday

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It’s your health The first half of this environmental decade was marked by tremendous legislative strides to protect the health and welfare of the U.S. citizenry. Since its formation on December 2, 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency has made inroads for clean air, clean water, less noise, safer pesticides while the Departments of Labor and HEW have attempted a safe work-a-day world for U.S.workers. There has been no Donora, no Minamata. But in the absence of a toxic substances control act and judging from the health-related issues raised by €S&‘rs Lois Ember in this month’s special report, we have a considerable way to go. As one announced presidential candidate reaffirmed at a meeting of the National Association of Environmental Professionals in Washington, D.C., one basic need for environmental legislation is the saving of human lives. Automotive air pollution kills 4000 Americans each year. Sulfur emissions from coal-powered plants will, if unchecked, kill 25,000 people in the next five years. To be sure there are chemicals on the loose in the environment. For example, they are showing up in our drinking water and the uncertainty here is that health effects from exposure to such materials may not show up for long periods of time, perhaps 25-40 years. At the same time, the exposure to such materials is chronic and continuous, from conception to death. The risk to such exposures may never be fully evaluated, at least with any predictive capability. But a concept of no risk is an unworkable premise. All agree. There are risks in everyday life-driving, flying, skiing, rappelling, even crossing a busy intersection. Some make a distinction between voluntary and involuntary risks. Others point out that you really do not know that you are taking a risk. For example, the nonworker living in a neighborhood near an industrial source of emissions simply may not know that exposure to these emissions may be injurious to health. What is surfacing is that he at least must be made consciously aware of a “potential” or “suspect” problem. The special report is must reading for all.

Please send research manuscripts to Manuscript Reviewing, feature manuscripts to Managing Editor. For author’s guide and editorial policy, see June 1975 issue, page 547, or write Katherine I. Biggs. Manuscript Reviewing Office. €SAT

Volume 9, Number 13, December 1975