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The True Costs of Pollution

Updated on December 19, 2014

Types of Pollution

water pollution

air pollution

soil pollution / land pollution -- toxic waste uptake into food crops and livestock or poisoning us directly in cancer clusters

light pollution -- I was astonished to hear that this is linked to breast cancer and prostate cancer in humans and extinction of birds and fireflies. It also causes psychological damage in humans in not being able to see the Milky Way and stars at night.

noise pollution -- What's that? You're going deaf? Speak up! I can't hear you! The chemicals in the environment already are eroding our senses of smell and taste. Apparently, hearing is the latest sense to go. Next will be eyesight. Then we will be deaf, dumb, and blind like Tommy in that rock opera. Of course, we must have been dumb and senseless to allow it to get this bad in the first place.

thermal pollution

electronic pollution -- Ringing in ears (tinnitus), headaches, and depression may be the result. Cellphones have been linked with brain cancer. Childhood leukemia and reproductive problems have been suggested as the result of living near electromagnetic fields such as towers but not much more than weak to nonexistent correlations have been shown in industry studies. Others claim that the evidence is piling up but that the EPA has to knuckle under to a huge industry that fears class action lawsuits.

radioactive pollution -- the worst contaminant being plutonium

visual pollution -- It is just ugly and we have gotten used to litter, smog, billboards and graffiti. Maybe we should get un-used to it. Don't accept the unacceptable.

space pollution -- also known as orbital debris, space junk, space waste, Kessler Syndrome, and space garbage

plastic pollution -- on some beaches it has replaced sand

pharma pollution -- drugs in the ecology (felony)

nano pollution -- nanobots and nanites reproducing and turning the Earth into grey goo

genetic pollution -- Monsanto and other companies that release GMO's into the environment are some of the perps. They then have the nerve to sue organic farmers if they save their own seeds from crops that may have picked up Monsanto-patented genes from pollen blown from Monsanto infected fields. That is agricultural. But humans can pick up viruses released from labs either accidentally or on purpose.

judges should sentence polluters to eat this
judges should sentence polluters to eat this
judges should sentence polluters to breathe this
judges should sentence polluters to breathe this
judges should sentence polluters to drink this
judges should sentence polluters to drink this

Visual Pollution

Visual pollution - eyesores - can be caused by other types of pollution or just by undesirable, unattractive views. It may lower the quality of life in certain areas, or could impact property values and personal enjoyment.

Sources of visual pollution include:

  • Power lines
  • Construction areas
  • Billboards and advertising
  • Neglected areas or objects such as polluted vacant fields or abandoned buildings

While visual pollution has few immediate health or environmental effects, the other types of pollution that cause an eyesore can have detrimental affects.

[source -- ]

Personal Pollution

Are you polluting yourself?

Personal pollution is the contamination of one's body and lifestyle with detrimental actions. This may include:

  • Excessive smoking, drinking or drug abuse
  • Emotional or physical abuse
  • Poor living conditions and habits
  • Poor personal attitudes

In some cases, personal pollution may be inflicted by caregivers, while in other cases it is caused by voluntary actions. Taking positive steps in your life can help eliminate this and other types of pollution so you can lead a more productive, satisfying life.

[source -- ]

The true cost of oil

$ Personal Cost

Your property value goes down if you are downwind of an air polluter or downstream of a water polluter or next door to a land polluter (chemical toxins).

Babies Come into the World Pre-polluted

When babies are born these days, they have chemicals in their bodies that babies a few decades back did not have. Even if a pregnant woman eats only organic food, if she uses products that do not list ingredients or breathes the air, then the unborn is at risk of getting dosed by the same carcinogens that affect adults.

[source -- ]

$ the Cost to Our Youngest Citizens

The same people who are concerned about babies and abortion see nothing contradictory about babies and children suffering from asthma and other pollution-related illnesses.

Nitrates in drinking water cause learning disabilities, birth defects, and several types of cancer.


$ Costs of Clean-up

the BP Gulf of Mexico spill

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Exxon Mobil Corp.'s 1,000-barrel oil spill into the Yellowstone was timed for the Fourth of July.

The Greenpoint oil spill is one of the largest oil spills ever recorded in the United States located around Newtown Creek in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City.

$ Costs of Clean-up

Permits and loopholes let polluters transfer their liabilities.

Polluters dodge the cost of cleanup. Your tax dollars pay for cleanup. This is why your taxes are going up: Your taxes are going up because you Mr. or Ms. Taxpayer refuse to make the polluters pay for the hidden costs of pollution. The Tea Party liars say this is "tax & spend Democrats" or "big government" but you are the first to complain when oil-sheik financed terrorists threaten you or you show up in the emergency room or you demand a clean national park or affordable insurance (flood or health insurance both of which are impacted by the environment) or mortgage meltdown because of gasoline prices or dozens of other national problems caused by polluters. Send the Koch Brothers and ExxonMobil and the other fossil & fission companies a bill for several Trillion. If they don't pay it, then slap them with a fine for several Trillion. If they get their bought-and-paid-for Senators and US Reps (who don't represent us) to complain to the president, then throw the Koch Brothers, Rex W. Tillerson and the other fossil & fission CEO's into Gitmo and throw away the key. The last election proved that billionaires can spend billions to buy Romney and Ryan and still lose. Now it is time to prosecute CEO's. It is time to scream for the masters of the Tea Party to face justice. The Untouchables brought down Al Capone. These monsters may be billionaires and CEO's but they can be brought down. There may still be time to reverse climate change and save the planet if we can lock up and lock down these cloven-hoof devils.

$ Health Costs

Your health costs, compounded by lost days at work and perhaps even having to go on disability and Medicare and ultimately welfare.

$ Health Costs

toxic metals in the environment

lead -- makes you stupid

mercury -- makes you mad as a hatter and causes limbs to twist into strange shapes

cadmium -- flu-like symptoms, renal failure, soft bones, fractures, joint pain, loss of sense of smell

chromium -- cancer, DNA damage

nickel -- some say this causes itching

aluminum -- said to cause Alzheimer's

$ Cost of Depleting the Ozone Layer

Deplete the ozone layer and get skin cancer. Moles are not the only symptoms.

$ Health Costs

particularly lung cancer, asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema in the case of air pollution

particularly stomach cancer and colon cancer in the case of junk food and carcinogens introduced into food by spraying crops with herbicides and insecticides

particularly kidney cancer in the case of water pollution -- You have to buy expensive water filters to filter your bottled water if you don't trust your tap water (and have some doubts about your bottled water too).

paycheck $54.60

$ Loss of Green Industry

to China -- which under-prices domestic solar panel manufacturers. Evergreen Solar has moved from the USA to China. Think about this every time some jack-hole traitor criticizes clean energy and praises oil, coal and fission.

to Europe -- First Solar, Inc. moved from the USA to Europe. In 2004, Germany broadened a feed-in tariff that was originally enacted to benefit wind power. Feed-in tariffs are government incentives designed to nurture renewable energy projects by requiring utilities to buy the resulting power at above-market prices for a long period of time. Germany's system fixed the rates for 20 years. The feed-in tariff programs have provided market certainty, enabling companies to raise a lot of money for projects -- $1 billion in the case of First Solar. The tariffs create clear markets, establish definite price points and set end dates that give companies multiple years to recoup investment and make a profit.

to Singapore -- REC is already stepping up production at its 1 GW integrated solar plant in Singapore.

to Malaysia --Meanwhile Q-Cells manufacturing is migrating to Malaysia.

For decades, US oil companies bought up alternative energy companies and patents with the intent of shutting them down because they represented a threat to the oil industry. Meanwhile, oil-rich OPEC nations have been among the biggest investors in alternative energy with the exact opposite intent of getting ahead of the USA in these technologies. What do they know that our “drill baby drill” morons don't know? They know that the days of oil, coal and fission are numbered.

US exports solar brainpower, China imports it

$ treason

Supporting oil sheiks who support terrorists costs us Trillions (with a T) in huge military budgets and trillions in huge intelligence budgets (even the amount is classified because it would give taxpayers a heart attack).

War and Pollution

  1. I have had to revise this capsule because the military is trying to go green and b*stards in Congress are obstructing them with new pro-pollution laws.
  2. war causes pollution -- Saddam Hussein even used pollution as a weapon in his invasion of Kuwait
  3. money spent in Islamic countries fighting terrorism -- the cost of black ops teams, the cost of regular Army over there with gas-guzzling tanks, the cost of mid-air refueling of gas-guzzling Air Force warplanes, and the cost of Navy tankers to refuel our ships over there with tons of fuel is money that could have been spent cleaning up pollution in the USA and researching and developing alternatives to our oil addiction.
  4. Our presence over there may be necessary but it would not have been necessary if we had never gotten involved in internal Islamic matters and let the FBI handle the arrests of Al Qaeda members as a police matter instead of a military matter. The day of 9/11, EVERY nation was on our side. They even had candlelight vigils in Iran by regular Iranians. But Dubya threw away that international goodwill with both hands by turning a police matter into a military matter. A legal response is cheaper and faster than a military response but outside of time travel and alternative time lines, we'll never know.

$ the National Debt

That national debt that Tea Party puppets are screaming about? It's real but it is caused by their masters: The death industry of oil and the military/police/intelligence necessary to protect them. This cost runs into the high Trillions of dollars. These are the most profitable corporations on Earth but they get tax breaks! While you want to put your foot up the derrière of the Tea Partiers, save your foot. A better place to put your foot is up the arrogant greedy monsters who finance the Tea Party -- The Koch Brothers.

And save the other foot for Rex W. Tillerson or another oil company CEO.

$ - It Will Cost Millions to Reverse Climate Change Now

but it will cost Quadrillions if we put it off

$ the Cost of Having to Take More and More Climate Change Refugees

We can't provide enough jobs for legal Americans who were born in the USA -- much less for illegal immigrants who would rather be shot at the border illegally entering than go back to whatever hell hole they came from to escape.

Some climate change refugees will exploit guilty liberal Americans by playing violins and telling their tales of woe in trekking deserts to enter the United States -- and thereby distract from the fact that they are committing a felony. They come pregnant in order to complicate deportation because they know that having a baby in America plants an anchor in this soil. If the Dream Act is passed, millions of new Americans will get the vote and that voting bloc will throw the borders open, borders will never again be controlled, and the local costs of public hospitals, public schools, public safety (police), and public welfare will crush taxpayers.

Some conservative Americans without a conscience will exploit cheap labor as maids (knowing that illegals cannot go to the police to file rape charges against randy employers), unsafe factory workers and migrant farm workers. If the illegals get injured in unsafe workplaces, the employer need not worry about workman's comp. Simply fire the amputee and hire another illegal. Americans won't do these jobs? Bullsh*t. Americans will do these jobs if they can find out about them. They may not stay long however because the pay is so low that it does not cover the costs of gasoline, uniforms, other work-related expenses, mortgages, credit cards, and other bills. Americans have a higher standard of living than our neighbors south of the border but that standard of living is declining because labor unions are undercut by employers willing to hire illegals or move factories to Mexico.

I have no problem with Hispanic Americans because they are fellow Americans. I do have a problem if they aid and abet in a felony and help their relatives in Central America and South America to illegally enter the US. Perhaps the appropriate punishment is to deport the American who aids and abets and let the illegal stay (in their place) if they are willing to serve in the military -- and more than a few illegals are willing (eager even) to do precisely that.

If all illegals were scientists, inventors, and billionaires, then there would be no problem. We would roll out the welcome mat for brains and money. But the fact is that many (if not most) illegals are penniless, illiterate (can't or won't speak English), and even carrying tropical diseases.

If I was a poor Mexican, then I would want to get out of that failed state too. But I'm not and Mexico is not the only problem of the USA. Other nations are also unwilling to take back their nationals who have illegally entered the United States. America struggles in the best of times with these costs. In a depression, we simply cannot afford to feed, house (homeless Americans), and provide jobs for our own -- much less the whole world.

And a pre-emptive strike against those who would call me a racist. I lived in Arizona and yes, even as an Anglo white woman, I did find the attitudes among some to be racist. But Latinos are media darlings right now (each group gets its day in the sun, it used to be hip to be English or Italian or name any group that is lionized by the media). Meanwhile, during the Cuban boat affair, they were rolling out the welcome mat in Florida for murderers released from Castro's prisons while black Haitians were washing up dead on the beaches of Miami, drowned because the Coast Guard would not rescue their leaky boats. Asians arrive dead in airless containers on container ships tricked by transporters who took their money and left them to die. These illegals do not have lobbies and media attention. So who is the real racist? It ain't me babe.

No one has a right to be in America or, for that matter, North America or the Western Hemisphere except the First Americans -- the Native Amerindians. So posturing over Conquistadors who slaughtered their way onto this continent goes in one ear and out the other. These are the psychological costs of climate change refugees. You cannot place a price tag on them. But you can place a price tag on economic refugees.

$ Higher Insurance Premiums

What happens when flood insurance is no longer subsidized? What happens when flood insurance is no longer available -- not even unsubsidized? It will happen when the Tea Party gets its way in cutting the federal budget. The government can no longer afford anything that helps people. It can only afford whatever polluters like the Koch Brothers want -- probably police protection from the angry mobs.

$ Pollution Exacerbates Water Scarcity

Pollution exacerbates water scarcity by contaminating the water that is left for an exploding population. This means less for each individual or home or non-polluting business. Pollution makes water undrinkable and sometimes unsafe even for irrigation.

With global warming comes the disappearance of snow-capped mountains and that snow melt feeds rivers out West. With climate change, east of the Mississippi could see less rain to feed rivers. When surface water is dried up, you have to use groundwater and artesian springs and subterranean rivers but we are foiled again because the polluters are poisoning our wells through land pollution, through pumping toxins into the Earth to dispose of them, and through hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").

GNU Free Documentation License
GNU Free Documentation License | Source
GNU Free Documentation License
GNU Free Documentation License | Source

$ Loss of Fisheries

It is no longer safe to eat fish or seafood.

$ Higher Food Prices

Acid rain ruins crops and livestock is poisoned by pollutants. The crops and livestock that survive command a much higher price.

$ Loss of Tourist Dollars

Eco-tourism is not the only sector of the tourist industry negatively impacted by pollution. General traditional tourism is also damaged when people simply do not want to come to your town or state or nation when the water is bad, the air is bad (like in China) and the food is all poisonous because vegetables are grown in chemicals and livestock (including fowl and fish) raised for meat are fed chemicals -- and so the food simply tastes bad.

What polluters do not understand is that nothing can be thrown away. Everything goes somewhere. If you pollute the air, then you are going to breathe it and smell it. If you pollute the water, then you are going to drink it and bathe in it (and have skin problems) and fish in it and swim in it and water ski and sail and cruise through floating trash. If you pollute the land, then you are going to have an eyesore and noise and dust and bad food and litter. Then you are going to wonder why the tourists don't come any more, why students don't come to your universities, why businesses don't come to your town, and why your own taxpayers are moving to other cities, other states and even other countries.

$ Cleaning Costs

There are extra costs in cleaning clothes and curtains from air pollution. But even the Dust Bowl did not have chemical toxins in the air.

$ Acid Smog Damage

Acid smog adversely affects urban areas causing damage to buildings, statues and city parks. A US Army Corps of Engineers /Brookhaven National Lab study estimates building damage in 17 states to top six billion dollars ($6,000,000,000+).

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license | Source

Acid rain damaged gargoyle

GNU Free Documentation License
GNU Free Documentation License | Source

$ Damage to Cars from Acid Rain

Damage to cars from acid rain includes the paint finish.

$ Loss of Visibility

Visibility limited by haze and smog affects civilian and military aircraft and may have contributed to crashes. A scientist blamed haze for the plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr. and his two passengers. Rich people are not immune from the effects of pollution.

Hot air balloons are primarily a rich man's sport. Some hot air balloonists have been overcome when their lighter than aircraft passed through a layer of unbreathable air. Poor people cannot feel smug about smog. When planes crash due to loss of visibility, they crash onto homes and can kill whole neighborhoods of people.

Baby Dolphin

Are our chemicals killing baby dolphins and causing  bizarre behavior in adults?
Are our chemicals killing baby dolphins and causing bizarre behavior in adults?

Did you know that there is a lobby for polluters?

  • Most lawsuits against the EPA are by -- SURPRISE !!! -- polluters

  • They organized and hired lobbyists. Who is "they"? polluters

  • What do they advocate? polluting

  • What are they for? pollution (they call it less regulation)

API: The Whores of America's Oil and Natural Gas Industry

API is American Petroleum Institute, the slime behind
API is American Petroleum Institute, the slime behind

A Story

Once upon a time, there were two groups of people. The clean people and the dirty people.

People who want clean air in their lungs, people who want clean soil in which to grow clean food, and people who want clean water in their stomachs are called environmentalists. These naïve people think that everyone with a brain (and a clean mind) would want a clean world.

Air and water do not stop at city limits, county lines, or even national borders. We all share the same rain and the same air. Pollution is poison -- often the kind that causes cancer. They used to hang people in the Old West for poisoning wells. Now poisoners get million dollar salaries and don't want to give them up. These are simple facts.

And yet dirty people with dirty minds want dirty air, dirty water, junk food, toxic waste, litter, and dirty politics. Environmentalists never considered the possibility that polluters might value anything above not being poisoned. After all, polluters have parents and children and friends and neighbors like everyone else. And so, environmentalists reasoned, polluters will eventually get it and realize that their actions would hurt their own grandchildren.

They haven't gotten it. Far from it. What they have done is spent millions turning the word "environmentalist" into a synonym for terrorism (never mind that even extreme environmentalists take pains not to kill anyone), communism (a mud-slinging smear tactic), and liberal. Since when is liberal a dirty word if you happen to be a liberal? And, besides, some environmentalists are conservatives and conservationists to boot. Clean air, clean water and clean food is too important to be a political football. Environmentalists have long recognized this and have always been able to talk to each other regardless of whether they are personally radical, liberal, moderate, conservative, ultraconservative, or even apolitical and off the whole right-left spectrum.

What do we take away from this analysis? (the moral of the story)

  1. Put a face on the pro-polluter pro-pollution pro-polluting lobby. Identify the worst polluters and their lobbyists.

  2. Identify the entities that support junk science. We are not going back to the Dark Ages and extinction of humanity without a fight.

  3. They want a fight because they call anyone who wants a clean environment a terrorist and they put our names in the Homeland Security database to criminalize us. [This is a tactic they learned from the racists who put all Florida blacks into a conviction database to keep blacks from voting in Florida and swing the election to Dubya] Well let's give them a fight.

  4. Sue the bastards. (for starters)

  5. Skip the useless demonstrations and protests. Go beyond The Nature Conservancy (they work with corporations to set aside land). Wear a three piece suit and start buying up stock in the polluting companies. Think like the corporate raiders who do hostile takeovers. Fire the executives who allow pollution.

  6. If you are too poor to do #5, then work for ever more Draconian laws that make polluting punishable by capital punishment. Execute the executives. After all, ask anyone downwind of Bhopal, if pollution is mass murder. It is. Treat it as such.

  7. Hound the polluters legally and within the law until they scream in agony and then keep ripping at them until no Harkonnen breathes our clean air. (That's from Dune) This is war except we have NO intention of doing anything illegal. We have NO intention of killing anyone. Not when we can get the law to do it for us. That's what makes us different from the right-wing talk show shock jocks who use code words and sometimes (like Sarah Palin) they just urge their mentally unbalanced audiences to machine gun down liberals. You never hear of liberals shooting people. Or putting cross hairs in campaign ads and on posters.

  8. Document their crimes and put them behind bars.

  9. Change the law to mandate long prison sentences (if the polluters are lucky). But do this only as a way station toward the ultimate goal of making pollution a capital crime deserving the death penalty.

  10. Identify the bureaucrat who labeled environmentalists as "eco-terrorists" and agitate with the President and Congress and courts until this S.O.B. is punished to the fullest extent of the law. After all, being labeled terrorists is what made us hopping-mad in the first place. He or she smeared our good name. They will not get away with it.

  11. We are not terrorists. We are Americans who pay taxes and vote and buy goods & services in this consumer society (and we can boycott too) and we are citizens born here who care about America -- even if polluters don't.

PERI: Toxic 100 Air Polluters

Koch Industries has actually gotten worse in the time from March 2010 to August 2012.
Koch Industries has actually gotten worse in the time from March 2010 to August 2012.

Koch Industries Indicted for Environmental Crimes at Refinery

two of the Koch Brothers

Fred is the good brother.  Fred stayed out of the oil patch.  The other three brothers (Charles, David and Bill) are another story.
Fred is the good brother. Fred stayed out of the oil patch. The other three brothers (Charles, David and Bill) are another story.

top oil CEO's at Capitol

top oil CEO's at Capitol

I know what it looks like. These SOB's are finally dragged before Congress and given a grilling.

Not quite. They were given the kid glove treatment. Why? Members of Congress such as Jim Inhofe get the largest part of their campaign funding from Big Oil.

Maybe President Obama will help.

Not so fast kiddies. Barack Obama has received a lot of campaign contributions from BP. If anyone says that I am pro-Democratic Party and anti-Republican Party and therefore ignore everything I say, then I will point out this paragraph and beat them over the head with it. Why didn't I say anything against President Obama before the election? Simple, Romney would have been worse. And to his credit, President Obama did not interfere when the Justice Department recently went after BP for the oil spill.

The moral of this story is that we have to pressure Congress and the President. We have to squeeze them until we get what we want -- maximum prosecution of fossil fuel and fission.

And then what next? We ratchet up the pressure even higher until no one dares question that mass murderers should be dealt with even more harshly than someone who kills one person.

Rex Tillerson


If you breathe air, drink water or eat food, don't feel bad that the Koch Brothers or Rex Tillerson are not behind bars -- yet. We'll get there. We will live to see the CEO's of all polluting companies behind bars if we continue to pressure the police and prosecutors and president to come down hard on them. Then harder. Then even harder.

cost of pollution: not only dollars but human lives

STUDY: Pollution Kills 7 Million Every Year

Besides Criminal and Civil Action: The Constitutional Case

Please note: Only Constitutional scholars and attorneys are likely to know what I am talking about.

Press constitutional rights cases against polluters -- specifically the Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our homes against seizure by those using the air, water and land as a sewer and the Fifth Amendment right to not have our private property (land, water and air rights) taken for use as a sewer without just compensation. Additionally, the Declaration of Independence declares that we have the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This unalienable right should be buttressed by the Ninth Amendment inasmuch as polluters rob us of life and constrict our liberty and pursuit of happiness when their carcinogens give us cancer or otherwise kill us.

Doctors Need to Speak Out

Physicians and surgeons need to speak up and say what we've known for a long time: pollution causes cancer and other diseases. We have listened to the PR liars of the fossil fuel industry and other polluters and now it is time to hear the truth.

The Solution to Oil, Coal and Nuclear Pollution

Should executives of polluting companies be prosecuted as mass murderers?

Should executives of polluting companies be prosecuted as mass murderers?

See results

The Cost of Pollution to Society


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