Technology, Pollution Prevention

A pollution prevention (P2) technology is one that creates less pollution in its life cycle than the one it replaces. P2 can be achieved in many ways, from better housekeeping and maintenance to redesign of products and processes.


Thermal Pollution

The broadest definition of thermal pollution is the degradation of water quality by any process that changes ambient water temperature. Thermal pollution is usually associated with increases of water temperatures in a stream, lake, or ocean due to the discharge of heated water from industrial processes, such as the generation of electricity.

Times Beach, Missouri

According to former mayor Marilyn Leistner, the 2,000 residents of Times Beach, Missouri, a community located along the Meramec River, endured a lasting toxic waste episode throughout the Christmas holiday season of 1982. In 1974 the U.S.

Tobacco Smoke

Tobacco smoke has long been recognized as a major cause of mortality and morbidity, responsible for an estimated 434,000 deaths per year in the United States. It is also a source of indoor air pollution due to the release of harmful chemicals, particles, and carcinogens.

Todd, John Innovative Ecological Designer (1939–)

John Todd is an internationally recognized biologist and pioneer in ecological design. He has been a practical activist in the ecology movement since 1969 when he cofounded the New Alchemy Institute in order to explore science and engineering based on ecological principles.

Toxic Release Inventory

In 1986 the U.S. Congress passed a federal law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which gives the public the right to know about industrial toxic chemicals that are released into the environment.

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), enacted by Congress in 1976, gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the responsibility for checking the relative safety of all chemical substances not already covered under other federal laws.


Toxicology is the science of poisons, which are sometimes referred to as toxins or toxicants. The former term applies to all natural poisons produced by organisms, such as the botulinum toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

Tragedy of the Commons

The term tragedy of the commons was coined by Garrett Hardin who hypothesized in 1968 that, as the size of the human population increased, there would be mounting pressures on resources at the local and global levels, leading to overexploitation and ruin. Partly the tragedy would occur because some "commoners" (or users of common resources) would reap the full benefit of a particular course of action while incurring only a small cost, while others would have to share the cost but receive none of the benefits.

Treaties and Conferences

Treaties, conventions, protocols, and conferences are tools for creating and shaping international law, and for establishing sanctions in the event of noncompliance.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Established in 1775, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (otherwise known as the corps) is the world's largest public, engineering, design, and construction management agency.

U.S. Coast Guard

Established in 1790 as the Revenue Marine Service but named as such after combination with the U.S. Lifesaving Service, the U.S.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (DOA) works with landowners to maintain the productive capacity of their land while helping them to protect soil, water, forests and other natural resources.

U.S. Department of the Interior

Established in 1849, the U.S. Department of the Interior has primary management and conservation responsibility for all federal lands and minerals, national parks, water resources, and wildlife refuges.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the primary regulatory agency of the federal government responsible for pollution control.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Established in 1927, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protects public health by guarding against impure and unsafe foods, drugs, cosmetics, and other potential hazards.

U.S. Geological Survey

Established as part of the Department of the Interior in 1879 and funded by Congress, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides support to federal agencies (e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, and the U.S.

Ultraviolet Radiation

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that lies between visible light and x rays in its energy and wavelength. It is a component of the radiation that reaches the Earth from the sun.

Underground Storage Tank

Leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) containing hazardous liquids, primarily petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, or oil have contaminated the groundwater and drinking water of thousands of communities across the United States.

Unintended Consequences

Solutions to environmental problems occasionally create unintended consequences, that is, solving one problem creates another. Scientists and engineers must carefully evaluate potential negative results before implementing new remediation programs.

Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a nonprofit alliance of some fifty thousand scientists and citizens across the United States. The group's stated goal is to combine rigorous scientific analysis with committed citizen advocacy in order to build a cleaner environment and a safer world.