Pollution: Business Ethics

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Pollution is the act or process of polluting or the state of being polluted, especially the contamination of soil, water, or the atmosphere by the discharge of harmful substances (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=pollution). Pollution is a universal problem. It seems that many businesses and people are unaware of the effect that pollutants have on people. Car exhaustion, tobacco smoking, dumping waste, and emission from factories and plants are just a few ways to pollute our ozone. I will discuss two Acts that the Environmental Protection Agency complies with. They include the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) funded a study to show that exposure of air pollution during pregnancy causes chromosomal abnormalities in fetal tissues (http://www.organicconsumers.org/school/pregnant021605.cfm). There have been studies performed by UCLA, University of North Carolina, and others that indicate that there is evidence to prove that exposure to the pollutants in larger, more exposed cities causes fetal damage (http://www.entnet.org/education/resources/birthdefects.cfm). A senior scientist, Tracey Woodruff, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated “The research is suggestive, but preliminary. It’s something to be concerned about, but nothing to panic about”. (http://www.entnet.org/education/resources/birthdefects.cfm) The Environmental Protection Agency feels that they need to do further research to determine what abnormalities is a result of exposure to air pollution (http://www.entnet.org/education/resources/birthdefects.cfm). These fetal irregularities are a result of companies not following the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act is a comprehensive federal law, which regulates air emissions (www.envirotools.org). It was originally enacted in 1963, revised in 1970 and 1977, and amended in 1990 (www.ozonealert.com/problem4.htm). It is the basis for the national air pollution control program (www.ozonealert.com/problem4.htm). Research has been done by several prestigious universities and organizations on the damage of unborn babies by pollution; however, the research needs to be extended in order to prove that toxins are harmful to people and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency is aware of the studies and feels more research needs to be done to determine exactly what pollutants are harmful to fetuses and how they are harmful.

There are many ways that a person may come in contact with toxins. People are exposed to air toxins through breathing the air, drinking water, food from animals, vegetables and fruits, and soil through ingestion or skin contact (http://www.epa.gov/air/toxicair/newtoxics.html#health). The Environmental Protection Agency does a good job of letting people know how they can be exposed to toxins. However, I know that I do not think about how I come into contact with toxins on a daily basis. I have only done one study in college to find out which businesses release toxins in Columbus, Georgia. This leads me to believe that most people day to day do not think about how toxins can harm them or their unborn babies.

American Electric Power (AEP), Cinergy, FirstEnergy, Illinois Power, Southern Indiana Gas & Electric, Southern, and Tampa Electric are seven of the nation’s largest utility companies (http://americanmachinist.com/printout.php?EID=1300). They were investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency in one of the largest investigations in Environmental Protection Agency history (http://americanmachinist.com/printout.php?EID=1300). Thirty-two of the plants that targeted were located in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and West Virginia (http://americanmachinist.com/printout.php?EID=1300). These companies were sued by the Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department for violating the Clean Air Act...
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