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#11 - Smokers Endanger Their Spouses And Their Children, Study Shows, 08-Feb-1987

A study of passive smoking by an expert committee of the National
Research Council says that infants, young children and spouses of
smokers are clearly at a health risk because of their exposure to
secondhand smoke. The study, commissioned by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Health and Human
Services, said children exposed to smoke at home suffered significantly
more respiratory infections and chronic ear infections and are more
likely to wheeze, cough and produce phlegm.

According to the report, passive smoking in childhood may permanently
stunt growth and lung development and might possibly increase the risk
of pulmonary disease as an adult. The committee said that according to
the best data available, nonsmoking spouses of smokers are 30% more
likely to contract lung cancer than are nonsmokers married to
nonsmokers, which may account for as many as 2,400 deaths from lung
cancer each year in the U.S.

--Peter Montague

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U.S. URGES OTHER NATIONS' BAN ON USE OF CHLOROFLUOROCARBONS

The U.S. in late 1986 urged an international conference in Geneva,
Switzerland to consider steps to freeze and eventually eliminate
production of chlorofluorocarbons and other gases that deplete the
atmospheric ozone shield that protects the earth from harmful
ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Experts from 40 nations and 14 non-
governmental agencies gathered to discuss the uses of
chlorofluorocarbons and how to limit them. Chlorofluorocarbons are
banned in the U.S. and Canada, but production worldwide increased
annually by 7% in 1983 and 1984 (thus doubling every 10 years), and now
totals about 600,000 tons per year. Twenty countries have signed and 8
(including the U.S.) have ratified the 1985 Vienna Convention for the
Protection of the Ozone Layer.

--Peter Montague

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EPA ISSUES FINAL 'BUBBLE' RULES ALLOWING 'BANKING' AND 'TRADING' OF AN
AREA'S POLLUTERS' RIGHTS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in late 1986 issued
final guidelines for the trading, buying or selling of allowances to
pollute the air. The agency will allow specific sources of pollution to
exceed limits specified by the Clean Air Act, or even increase their
emissions, if they can reduce other sources of pollution within a given
area. Under the guidelines, all air pollution from all sources from a
given industrial plant, or from different polluters over a county-wide
area, will be regarded as being enclosed in a giant "bubble" and
polluters will be allowed to balance their emissions against those of
nearby plants. This means a plant can buy a less expensive plant and
close it if that is cheaper than buying and installing the equipment
necessary to reduce its own emissions to legal levels.

--Peter Montague

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FAR WEST IS NOT THE ONLY PLACE RUNNING OUT OF WATER; LONG ISLAND FACES
SAME PROBLEM

Long Island (NY) officials say the rapid use and pollution of Long
Island's water supply may cause widespread water shortages in 10 to 15
years. Three vast, layered aquifers, believed to contain about 60
trillion gallons, supply the Island's water. The top layer contains the
Glacial Aquifer, undrinkable because it is so contaminated. The Magothy
Aquifer, the middle layer, is the widest and largest source of water.
The deepest layer, the Lloyd, is a protected area, reserved only for
emergencies. In Sept. 1986, the State Department of Environmental
Conservation announced a series of limits, effective Jan. 1987, on the
amount of water that Nassau County suppliers can pump from the
aquifers. Builders and water suppliers say the state-imposed limits are
forcing water suppliers to limit development by determining which
proposed projects they could supply with water and will severely hurt
Long Island's economy and result in layoffs of thousands of
construction workers.

--Peter Montague

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UNION CARBIDE SAYS INDIA FAILED TO REGULATE UNION CARBIDE, THUS BEARS
RESPONSIBILITY FOR BHOPAL

The Union Carbide Corporation in Dec., 1986, while continuing to deny
liability, filed a countersuit against the government of India and the
State of Madhya Pradesh regarding the 1984 disaster at Carbide's Bhopal
subsidiary. The company is charging the governments with "contributory"
responsibility for the leak of poisonous gases, saying both governments
knew of the toxicity of methyl isocyanate but failed to take adequate
precautions to prevent a disaster. The government of India has sued
Union Carbide for at least $3 billion in compensation for the victims
of the leak of methyl isocyanate.

--Peter Montague

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Descriptor terms: ozone; atmosphere; cfcs; federal; canada;
switzerland; compacts; bans; regulation; global environmental problems;
chemical production statistics; air pollution; lawsuits; liability;
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smoke; water pollution; drinking water; long island, ny; ny; suffolk
county, ny; nassau county, ny; studies; aquifers; water supply; water
shortages; development; epa; guidelines; air pollution; clean air act;
emissions; limits; regulations; bubble; pollution rights; trading;
banking; regulation;