News and Opinions
Pesticide Waste Disporml Ttdmdogy. edited by James S. Bridges and Clyde R. Dempsey, Pollution Technology Review No. 148, Noyes Data Corporation, Mill Road at Grand Ave. Park Ridge, NJ 07656,1988, xiv + 33 I pp. Price: $54.00. Treatment Tecbdogk for Solvent Containiag Wastes, M. Breton, P. Frillici, S. Palmer, C. Spears, M. Arienti, M. Kravett, A. Shayer. and N. Suprenant, Pollution Technology Review No. 149. Noyes Data Corporation. Mill Road at Grand Ave.. Park Ridge. NJ 07656. 1988. xviii +753 pp. Price: $64.00. Sorbmts for L&id Hwardous !hbatance Ckmtup rod Control, Robert W. Melvold. Steven C. Gibson and Robert Scarberry. Pollution Technology Review No. 150. Noyes Data Corporation. Mill Road at Grand Ave., Park Ridge, NJ 07656. 1988, xi + I54 pp. Price: S36.00. Treatment of Hanrdoa Waste Leachate, Unit Operations and Co&, J. L. McArdle. M. M. Arozarena and W. E. Gallagher. Pollution Technology Review No. 151, Noyes Data Corporation, Mill Road at&and Ave., Park Ridge,NJ 07656. 1988. viii + I1 1 DO.Price: S36.00. Cornposting M&pi edge, A Tedsndogy Evaluation, Arthur H. Benedict, Eliot Epstein and Jose1 Alpert, Pollution Technology Review No. 152, Noyes Data Corporation. Mill Road at Grand Ave.. Park Ridge, NJ 07656. 1988, xii + 178 pp. Price: 536.00. A~erobic Treatmeat of Inddl Wastewaters, edited by Michael F. Torpy, Pollution Technology Review No. 154. Noyes Data Corporation, Mill Road at Grand Ave., Park Ridge, NJ 07656, 1988. xii + I22 pp. Price: $36.00. “Waste management” appears to be the watchword of at least the current year and perhaps a few subsequent ones. The Air Pollution Control Association is trying to change its name to incorporate the magic phrase. It is certainly not a bad idea; I have myself spoken and published earlier on the general concepts of pollutants as the metabolic wastes of our society. I have also pointed out that metabolic wastes are very apt to be toxic, since this is in many cases the reason they are wastes. Finally, I have pointed out that one major problem with these wastes is that they are comparatively novel; nature has not produced vast quantities of virgin metals or pet-fluorinated hydrocarbons, and therefore there are no organisms that have evolved to metabolize them. We would thus expect a sizable fraction of all of our wastes to be to some degree toxic and/or refractory. Conceivably at some time in the future termites may mutate until they can digest steel, and bacteria will arrive that will attack some of our polymers and halogenated hydrocarbons. There may still be problems with their metabolites, in turn, until the system manages to close the loop. In some of these areas, in fact, there is current work, as noted by the second volume in the above listing. The book by Phifer and McTigue begins on a relatively elementary level. and essentially does what its title promises. As is to some extent inevitable, it does so in bureaucratic language; for good or ill, it is rather necessary to reproduce the language of the various regulating laws and their implementation documents. However, once this is read through and the bureaucratese penetrated, the reader can begin to understand the law of the situation and what to do with moderate quantities of waste chemicals. The book will not produce experts on waste management, but it should give readers at least a preliminary idea of the sorts of management measures that would be acceptable. The balance of the volumes are the usual product of Noyes --Government reports, and the like. turned into bound volumes. The titles are reasonably adequate descrip tions of the content% and the contents are of whatever quality the current state of knowledge and the writing abilities of the respectivecontractors permit. I am no expert in these diverse fields, but I should generally expect my expertise to increase if
of the appropriate
Tbc Hole in the Sky-_Mtm’s Threat to the Ozone Layer, John Gribbin, Bantam, 1988. 192 pp. Price: Paperbound: S4.50. As most readers of this Journal are aware. some 27 industrial nations entered into a treaty in Montreal in September 1987 to reduce the rekase of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere by 50% by the end of the century. This book is an account for a general (i.e. non-scientist) audience of the scientific findings that have led to the recognition by essentially all interested parties of the role of trace concentrations of CFCs in reducing the concentration ofstratospheric ozone and of some of the potential consequences of such a reduction. John Gribbin. a former staff writer for Nature and author of a number of popular accounts of recent scientific developments, has undertaken an admirably comprehensive account of the current understanding of the chemistry, and to some extent the dynamics, of the stratospheric ozone layer. Among the topics he treats are the formation of the ozone layer from oxygen in the primordial atmosphere, the role of stratospheric ozone in shielding the surface from biologically destructive ultraviolet radiation, the role of biogenic nitrogen oxides in maintaining the pre-industrial balance of stratospheric ozone and a history of some of the early skirmishes in the “ozone wars”, such as the supersonic transport. He then enters upon what initially appears to be a digression into the “greenhouse” effect and the contribution of CFCs to this phenomenon before focussing upon the heart of his subject, the 1984 discovery by Farman and colleagues of a significant, annually repeated depletion ofcolumn ozone over Antarctica in October (austral spring), of the confirmation of this in satellite measurements by NASA, of the I986 and 1987 Antarctic expeditions. and of the theories and models that have been advanced to account for the -ozone hole”. For a book intended for a general audience, 7he Hoie in the Sky presents a remarkably and admirably detailed account of this work. There are a dozen or so figures, most adapted from journal articles, mostly time series of various quantities, but also including a schematic of the vertical structure of the earth’s atmosphere and a schematic of the earth radiation balance. A dramatic figure comparing data from August and October 1987 balloon flights at Halley Bay as a function of altitude shows a decrease in ozone partial pressure at I7 km by an order of magnitude between these two dates. Gribbin concludes, with reference to Anderson’s observations (not available for inclusion in this volume, but recently published in Chemical end Engineering News, 30 May 1988, p. 16, and in Physics Today, July 1988, p. 18) of a detailed anticorrelation of the concentrations of 0, and Cl0 observed in ER2 Bights across Antarctica, that these data are not just a “smoking gun” but are “more in the nature of a signed and witnessed confession”. He outlines most of the major catalytic cycles involved in destruction of stratospheric ozone and gives an account, up-to-date as of the end of 1987, of the findings and speculations of the role of heterogeneous processes in polar stratospheric clouds in this depletion. These speculations include the suggestion that an altered thermal structure of the stratosphere, resulting from changes in ozone distribution, may lead to cooling that would enhance the catalytic effects of polar stratospheric clouds in destroying ozone. Gribbin and his publisher Bantam are to be highly commended for presenting this sort of detail in this book.