Environmental Quality


Pollution Control

Technical Applications

Summary

Pollution control technologies render hazardous substances harmless before they enter the environment. These technologies include the treatment of pollutants or other natural or anthropogenic materials to eliminate or reduce environmental and human health hazards, or the reduction of pollutant/waste material volume or mobility to make subsequent management more effective.

Characteristics

Pollution control technologies render hazardous substances harmless before they enter the environment. These technologies include the treatment of pollutants or other natural or anthropogenic materials to eliminate or reduce environmental and human health hazards, or the reduction of pollutant/waste material volume or mobility to make subsequent management more effective

ImpactEconomy

As worldwide environmental regulations become stricter, companies that develop and sell pollution control technologies will gain a competitive advantage. Increased sales of pollution control products and processes would contribute to job creation and economic growth in the U.S., particularly in Manufacturing, Transportation and Utilities, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, and Mining sectors. These technologies also substantially contribute to lowering costs to research and development activities because they facilitate management of mixed wastes generated as an unavoidable by-product. Such wastes currently constitute a significant financial burden and potential liability for the R&D communities involved. Waste elimination is part of pollution control. Waste elimination technologies contribute to the health of the population by providing a reduction in environmental causes of disease. As a larger waste disposal industry is created, these technologies also contribute to job creation and economic growth through the fabrication and sales of equipment based on these technologies. Pollution control technologies also contribute to the security of food, water, and air. Waste elimination technologies also contribute to national security by providing means of safe disposal for waste from reduction in nuclear stockpiles.

WorldView

Foreign firms are slightly behind firms in the United States in separation technologies. European firms are closest to U.S. firms in capabilities and have some areas of leadership. In particular, Europe is ahead in nuclear applications because of the policy decision to manage waste as it is produced rather than to accumulate it for future treatment. An active reprocessing effort, led by the French with contributions from the United Kingdom has given Europe a strong lead over the rest of the world. German work has accelerated in the last few years because of concern about decontamination problems in the former East Germany.