A recent study from two University of California Berkeley economists, Joseph Shapiro and Reed Walker, has found that pollution emissions from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent between 1990 and 2008. While during the same period, manufacturing grew by 30%. The study will be published in the American Economic Review.
This is very good news and strong evidence that the Clean Air act has had a remarkable effect on significantly reducing air pollutants, which in turn provides for improved air quality. Consider the smog levels during the 70s in major cities such as Los Angeles and Houston. Residents will tell you how much their air quality has improved.
Some have argued that we have sent our dirty manufacturing such as steel, pulp and paper overseas which drove the decrease in emissions. However, the truth is the study found we are producing even more of the same goods, but manufacturing has taken significant steps to reduce their emissions.
In a recent Report to the Community of the San Joaquin Valley, it was reported that pollution emissions were reduced by 85% over the last 15 years. In the report, several measures were cited that were attributed to the reduction. However, we know that manufacturing emissions were the key driver that created these reductions.
In an article published last year in the PPM Journal, The DOCUMERICA Photo Project: Searching for the Seventies, it discussed the EPA project of photographing contamination in America during the 1970s. Some of the photographers returned three decades later and photographed the same sites. The reduction of pollution at these sites was clear. And proof that the clean air and water acts have made great improvements to public health and a safer environment.
The press release for the University of California Berkeley study can be found here, http://news.berkeley.edu/2018/08/09/environmental-regulations-drove-steep-declines-in-u-s-factory-pollution/ , the Report to the Community of the San Joaquin Valley can be found here, http://www.valleyair.org/General_info/pubdocs/2017-18-Annual-Report.PDF and The DOCUMERICA Photo Project: Searching for the Seventies article can be found here, https://www.ppmco.com/the-documerica-photo-project-searching-for-the-seventies/?utm_source=Final+Journal+01%2F10%2F2017&utm_campaign=10%2F29%2F2016&utm_medium=email .