Household Pollutants

Household pollutants are contaminants that are released during the use of various products in daily life. Studies indicate that indoor air quality is far worse than that outdoors because homes, for energy efficiency, are made somewhat airtight.


Hypoxia is a drastic reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in water—a state that can be fatal to fish and other gill-breathing animals. Hypoxia is most often caused by pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus compounds derived from fertilizers, animal waste, sewage, or atmospheric contaminants.


Incineration is the thermal destruction of waste. It is as old as throwing food wastes on a wood fire, and in many developing nations, garbage is still routinely burned in drums and boxes on city streets.

Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution is the presence of one or more contaminants indoors that carry a certain degree of human health risk. Indoor air issues may be traced to the beginning of civilization.

Industrial Ecology

Industrial ecology aims to reduce the environmental impact of industry by examining material and energy flows in products, processes, industrial sectors, and economies. Industrial ecology provides a long-term perspective, encouraging consideration of the overall development of both technologies and policies for sustainable resource utilization and environmental protection into the future.


Throughout the world there are various types of pollution that interfere with the quality of life for all living creatures and with the natural functioning of the earth's ecological systems. Although some environmental pollution is a result of natural causes (such as methane emissions from cattle and toxic materials expelled from volcanoes), most pollution is caused by human activities.

Infectious Waste

Infectious waste is that portion of medical waste that is contaminated with pathogens that may be able to transmit an infectious disease; it is also referred to as regulated medical waste. Infectious waste represents a small percentage (usually between 5 and 15 percent) of a health care facility's total waste stream.

Information, Access to

The generation and distribution of public information play a central role in the evolution of a strong democracy. Quality information is essential for effective governmental programs.

Injection Well

Injection wells use high-pressure pumps to inject liquid wastes into under-ground geologic formations (e.g., sandstone or sedimentary rocks with high porosity). Many geologists believe that wastes may be isolated from drinking water aquifers when injected between impermeable rock strata.

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated pest management (IPM) refers to strategies used to minimize the application of chemical pesticides and to combat plant pests, such as insects and other arthropods, pathogens, nematodes, weeds, and certain vertebrates, without incurring economic plant damage. All plant pests (as well as other life-forms) have natural enemies, and the use of such biological control agents is commonly thought to form the basis of IPM.

Ishimure, Michiko

The methyl-mercury poisoning in Minamata Bay first became apparent in 1953, with sick children and "dancing cats," cats so frenzied they would "dance" and die. Initially it was thought that this was a contagious disease, and the victims were spurned by other villagers.

ISO 14001

One of the more successful outcomes of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 was the initiation of a process that would lead to the creation of an international environmental management standard. At the conclusion of the summit, the organizing committee asked the International Organization for Standardization (IOS) to evaluate the feasibility of developing such a standard in order to create some consistency in regulation among and dis-courage pollution by foreign interests in the many countries that were each developing their own set of environmental rules and laws.

Labor, Farm

The rise of organized labor in agriculture is epitomized by the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), the largest and oldest union of agricultural laborers in the nation, and its influence on environmental public policy, operations, and worker conditions. Many salient actors, events, and campaigns have contributed to this influence.

LaDuke, Winona Environmental Activist (1959–)

Winona LaDuke, an Ojibwe Indian, is an internationally recognized, longtime environmentalist, feminist, and indigenous rights activist. She was vice presidential running mate for Ralph Nader's 1996 and 2000 U.S.


A landfill is a large area of land or an excavated site that is designed and built to receive wastes. There were 3,536 active municipal landfills in the United States in 1995 according to the U.S.

Laws and Regulations, International

The problems of pollution are not limited to the borders of any one country. Because the harmful effects of pollution often extend to areas beyond the country where the pollution originated, the international legal system is an important means of controlling pollution.

Laws and Regulations, United States

Although pollution control laws have been in use in the United States for a century, it was not until the 1970s, the "Environmental Decade," that modern pollution-control laws began to take shape. The American public was awakened to the need for better pollution control through the 1967 publication of Rachel Carson's groundbreaking Silent Spring and environmental disasters such as Love Canal, New York; the Donora, Pennsylvania, inversion; and the Cuyahoga River fire in Ohio.


Lead (symbol Pb, atomic number 82) is a soft, dense, bluish-gray metal that melts at the relatively low temperature of 328°C (662°F). It has many beneficial uses in compounds as well as in its metallic form, but is toxic at almost any level in the body.

Legislative Process

Simply, legislative process means the steps required for a proposed bill to become a law, but the whole process includes much more than what happens in Congress. At the federal level in the United States, this process has six major steps.

Life Cycle Analysis

A typical product has a range of environmental impact arising from its manufacture, use, and disposal. A life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates the entire environmental impact of a product through its life cycle.


It might be said that, whether conscious of it or not, everyone has a lifestyle. From this perspective, lifestyle refers simply to the defining characteristics or qualities of a particular way of life, be it of an individual, a nation, or an entire culture.

Light Pollution

As humankind enters the twenty-first century, ours is the first generation where the majority of children cannot routinely see the night sky in all its splendor and glory. The problem is caused by light pollution, excess or misdirected artificial light that alters the natural night sky.