Air and Water Pollution - PowerPoint

					Air and Water Pollution

• Sevi Beykozlu • Alexandra Yu • Meissa Dia • Shumin Li

Air and Water Pollution Facts
The EPA has stated the following: • 100 million of the USA's 263 million residents face health problems from breathing dirty air.

• 64,000 Americans die prematurely each year from respiratory illness and heart attacks linked to particulate exposure.
• INDOOR air can be 20 to 70 times worse than outdoor air.

Air and Water Pollution Facts
The EPA has stated the following (cont.): •
the U.S.
• Over half of our homes and offices are suffering from a form of sick building syndrome. • In 1990 the EPA estimated that nearly 10,000 community wells contain pesticides, which are linked to cancer as well as liver, kidney, and nervous system damage. • EPA records for 1993 showed that operators failed to notify customers that they were drinking substandard water in 94% of the cases where the systems violated the law. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in

Air and Water Pollution Facts
Health Experts Say: • The body easily gets rid of large airborne particulates but the particles 5 microns and smaller are the dangerous ones.

• Over 40 million people now suffer from allergies, asthma, emphysema, and other breathing disorders. • Doctors have linked indoor air pollution with ailments ranging from behavioral problems to kidney failure.

Air and Water Pollution Facts
Health Experts Say: • Thousands of people every day are reaching saturation levels and becoming chronic sufferers. • A study by the U.S. Council of Environmental Quality showed that the cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than those whose water does not contain chlorine. • As chlorine is added to kill pathogenic microorganisms, the highly reactive chlorine combines with fatty acids and carbon fragments to form a variety of toxic compounds, which comprise about 30% of the chlorination byproducts.

Air and Water Pollution Facts
Health Experts Say: • Drinking chlorinated water may as much as double the risk of the Bladder Cancer, which strikes 40,000 people a year. • Taking long hot showers is a health risk. Showers lead to a greater exposure to toxic chemicals contained in water suppliers than does drinking the water. The chemicals evaporate out of the water and are inhaled. • Scientific studies have linked chlorine and chlorination byproducts to cancer of the bladder, liver, stomach, rectum, and colon, as well as heart disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), anemia, high blood pressure, and allergic reactions.

Case Study: Water Pollution
Erin Brockovich v.s. PG&E

Erin Brockovich v.s. PG&E
• People and domestic animals in Hinkley,
California, were getting sick and dying.

• Residents depended on the local ground
water supply.

• PG&E’s Gas compressor station was there.

Erin Brockovich v.s. PG&E
• In 1987, officials from PG&E detected and
reported high level of hexavalent chromium (chromium VI) in the waste water ponds.

• PG&E bought every piece of property thought to
be affected by the pollution and destroyed 75% of them.

• PG&E hid the truth from the residents.

Erin Brockovich v.s. PG&E
• PG&E distributed flyers discussing the
company’s use of “chromium” to local residents, but the contents were misleading.

Erin Brockovich v.s. PG&E
• PG&E’s flyers:
Chromium occurs in 2 forms. The form that is present in groundwater can cause health effects in high doses. The cleanup program, however, will result in chromium levels that meet the very conservative drinking water standards set by the EPA. In addition, the form of chromium that will be left on soils after irrigation is nontoxic. In fact, chromium in this form is a naturally occurring metal that is an essential ingredient in the human diet, on that is often included in multiple vitamin/mineral supplements.

Erin Brockovich v.s. PG&E
• Why did PG&E use chromium VI ?
-PG&E’s compressor station was built to be part of the pipeline system that transfers natural gas to the service area. -Gas compression generates heat so the gas and the compressors have to be cooled with circulating water.
-To keep its cooling towers from corroding too fast, PG&E added chromium VI as corrosion inhibitor.

Erin Brockovich v.s. PG&E
• Chromium VI is perfect to use in pretreatment process to resist corrosion and provide good adhesion.

• Chromium VI is toxic and can cause

Erin Brockovich v.s PG&E
• Upon reading the peculiar medical bills from
residents in Hinkley, Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry rose to the occasion.

• 77 initial plaintiffs filed their lawsuit against
PG&E and offered the settlement of $250 million.

• PG&E refused.

Erin Brockovich v.s. PG&E
• Eventually 648 plaintiffs joined the

• 36 claims were tried and the arbitration
trial took nearly 2 years.

• In 1994, plaintiffs and PG&E reached an
agreement to arbitrate.

Erin Brockovich v.s. PG&E
• Results:
PG&E agreed to: 1. Compensate all the named plaintiffs in the amount of $333 million. 2. Clean up the environment. 3. Stop using chromium VI.

Professional Issues
• Economic concern • Safety & health issue

• Duty to inform the public • Proper disposal of PG & E chemical waste

Legal/Policy Issues
• Harmful chemical usage regulation
– The levels of Chromium VI in monitoring wells were 10x the legal limit

• Misleading the public • Lawsuit • Penalty • Environment cleaning

Ethical Issues
• Regard for Public Well-Being

• Responsibility to clean up the damaged environment • The effects of chromium VI have been known since the 1920’s • PG & E knew about the contamination since 1965 when levels were 400 times the EPA’s safety standard! (

• PG & E
– Executives – Engineers – Project members

• Government
• Surrounding communities
– Future Generations

Possible Alternative Actions
• PG &E could simply follow the government
standards for safe levels of Chromium VI

• Find a safe alternative to Chromium VI
even if it means higher cost to PG & E

• Expensive process • Less environmental pollution • Might decrease efficiency • Lower or eliminate the law suit possibility • Unknown side effect in a long term

Consequences (cont.)
• Lower efficiency • Higher cost • Safe environment

Individual Rights
• PG & E has its right to choose which
chemical to use within a safety limitation

• People have their rights to live in a safe

Common Good
• Less harmful to environment and people

Our Final Decision
• Find a safe alternative to Chromium VI

Shared By: