PCB dumping in the Hudson River resulted in a ban by the EPA on consumption of its fish in 1974.
National news stories in the late 1970s – especially the long-term dioxin contamination at Love Canal starting in 1947 and uncontrolled dumping in Valley of the Drums – led to the Superfund legislation of 1980.
Lake Karachay – named by the Worldwatch Institute as the "most polluted spot" on earth – served as a disposal site for the Soviet Union throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
Chelyabinsk, Russia, is considered the "Most polluted place on the planet".
Though extreme care is practiced in that industry, the potential for disaster suggested by incidents such as those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl pose a lingering specter of public mistrust.
Worldwide publicity has been intense on those disasters.Chicago and Cincinnati were the first two American cities to enact laws ensuring cleaner air in 1881.Pollution became a major issue in the United States in the early twentieth century, as progressive reformers took issue with air pollution caused by coal burning, water pollution caused by bad sanitation, and street pollution caused by the 3 million horses who worked in American cities in 1900, generating large quantities of urine and manure.As historian Martin Melosi notes, The generation that first saw automobiles replacing the horses saw cars as "miracles of cleanliness.".Other cities followed around the country until early in the 20th century, when the short lived Office of Air Pollution was created under the Department of the Interior.According to a 1983 article in the journal Science, "soot" found on ceilings of prehistoric caves provides ample evidence of the high levels of pollution that was associated with inadequate ventilation of open fires." Metal forging appears to be a key turning point in the creation of significant air pollution levels outside the home.Core samples of glaciers in Greenland indicate increases in pollution associated with Greek, Roman, and Chinese metal production.Nuclear weapons continued to be tested in the Cold War, especially in the earlier stages of their development.The toll on the worst-affected populations and the growth since then in understanding about the critical threat to human health posed by radioactivity has also been a prohibitive complication associated with nuclear power.The burning of coal and wood, and the presence of many horses in concentrated areas made the cities the primary sources of pollution.The Industrial Revolution brought an infusion of untreated chemicals and wastes into local streams that served as the water supply.