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acid precipitation

acid rain, acid hail, acid snow, all of which occur as a result of pollution in the atmosphere

acute effect

the effect caused by a short exposure to a high level of toxin

closed loop recycling

when materials such as plastic or aluminum are used to rebuild the same products. an example of this is the use of aluminum from aluminum cans to produce more cans

catalytic converter

a platinum coated device that oxidizes most of the VOC's and some of the CO that would otherwise be emitted in exhausted, converting them into CO2

building related illness

when the signs and symptoms of an illness can be attributed to a specific infectious organism that resides in the building

chronic effect

and effect that results from long term exposure to low levels of toxin

deep well injection

drilling a hole in the ground that is below the water table to hold waste


occurs when infection causes a change in state of health

dose response analysis

a process in which an organism is exposed to a toxin at different concentrations and the dosage that causes the death of the organism is recorded

dose response curve

the result of graphing a dose response analysis see picture


the point at which 50% of the test organisms show a negative effect from a toxin

global warming

an intensification of the greenhouse effect due to increased presence of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere

gray smog (industrial smog)

smog resulting from emissions of industry and other sources of gases produced by burning of fossil fuels, especially coal

heat islands

urban areas that heat up more quickly and retain heat better than non-urban areas

high level radioactive waste

radioactive waste that produce high levels of ionizing radiation


result of a pathogen invading a body


the point at which 50% of the test organisms die from a toxin


liquid that percolates to the bottom of a landfill

noise pollution

any noise that causes stress or has the potential to damage human health

non-point source pollution

pollution that does not have a specific point of release

open loop recycling

when materials are reused to form new products

ozone holes

the thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica


bacteria, virus, or other microorganisms that can cause disease

photochemical smog

usually formed on hot sunny days when NO(x) compounds, VOC's, and ozone combine to form smog with brownish hue

point-source pollution

specific location from which pollution is released


any substance that has an LD(50) of 50 mg or less per kilogram of body weight

physical treatment

in a sewage treatment plant, the initial filtration that is done to remove debris such as stone, sticks, rags, toys, and other object that were flushed down the toilet

primary pollutants

pollutants that are released directly into the lower atmosphere

primary treatment

when physically treated sewage water is passed into a settling tank where suspended solids settle out as sludge, chemically treated polymers may be added to help the suspended solids separate and settle out

risk assessment

calculating risk or degree of likelihood that a person will become ill upon exposure to a toxin or pathogen

risk management

using strategies to reduce the amount of risk

secondary pollutants

pollutants that are formed by the combination of primary pollutants in the atmosphere

secondary treatment

biological treatment of waste water in order go continue to remove biodegradable waste

sick-building syndrome

a condition in which the majority of a buildings occupants experience certain symptoms that vary with the amount of time spent in the building w/o being able to identify a specific cause of illness


solids that remain after secondary treatment of sewage

sludge processor

tank filled with aerobic bacteria that is used to treat sewage

solid waste

can consist of hazardous waste, industrial solid waste, or municipal waste

stationary sources

non-moving sources of pollution, such as factories

superfund program

a program funded by federal government and a trust thats funded by taxes on chemicals; identifies pollutants and cleans up hazardous waste sites

threshold dose

dosage level of a toxin at which negative effect occurs


degree to which a substance is biologically harmful

tropospheric ozone

ozone that exists in troposphere

US noise control act

gave the EPA power to set emission standards for major sources of noise including transportation, machinery, and construction


the carrier organism through which pathogens can attack such as a tick

waste water

any water that has been used by humans

waste to energy program (WTE)

when energy released from waste incineration is used to generate electricity

green tax

a fiscal policy that lowers taxes on income including wages and profit, and rages taxes on consumption, particularly the unsustainable consumption of nonrenewable resources

market permits

when companies are allowed to buy permits that allow them a certain amount of discharge of substances into certain environmental outlets. if they can reduce their amounts of discharge, they are allowed to sell remaining portion of their permit to a remaining company

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