No it won't, but ...

Pollution is a topic about which it is especially important to be sensible, because it is very easy to be trapped into thinking about it in terms of blame, or perhaps in terms of sin. There is a page on ideology that has something about imagined pollution.

There are many kinds pollution - real and imagined.

Coal smoke
Coal smoke was about the first kind of pollution to become a political issue. As early as the 17th century, there were attempts to forbid coal burning in England. The need for heat overcame recognition of harm from coal smoke. It was a long time before the advance of technology and prosperity made it possible to eliminate death from coal smoke. There was a famous disaster in London in the 1950s. In the late 1950s, it was forbidden to use coal for domestic heating.
Sewage in drinking water
This gives rise to cholera and typhoid epidemics before the discovery of the germ theory of disease These epidemics were an order of magnitude larger than any health problems caused by the kinds of pollution people in advanced countries worry about. Indeed lack of sewage treatment still causes much death, especially of children, in backward countries.
Automobile emissions
As a problem, this has always been an order of magnitude smaller than was the problem of coal smoke. Regulation of emissions has reduced it greatly. In my opinion, the California requirement for zero emission vehicles is overkill. The costs will far outweigh the benefits.
Heavy metals in the ocean
There was a disaster in Minamata Bay, Japan in 1956 when mercury emissions from a factory got into shellfish. This led to a general worry about mercury getting into the ocean. However, there is already 60 million tons of natural mercury in the ocean, and humanity uses only 3,000 tons per year. Therefore, dilution is a sufficient solution except for the possiblity of local concentrations as happened in Minamata Bay. Many fish, specifically tuna and salmon, concentrate mercury in tissues. The FDA suggests that pregnant women eat fish no more often than (once a week?). This may be overconservative.
Phosphates from detergent causing eutrophication
Nitrates from fertilizer causing eutrophication
Particulates from burning trash
Domestic trash burning is now forbidden.
Pesticides in foods
This is an exaggerated hazard.
Pesticides harming agricultural workers
This has been serious, and maybe still is in some places.
Black lung disease
This shortened the lives of coal miners. I believe it is mostly eliminated in the US by better control of dust in mines.


The anti-pollution movement that began with threats of imminent death of life on earth has developed considerable momentum. For example, in 1999 the EPA proposed to return air quality in national parks and wilderness areas to the pre-industrial level. Fortunately, the date for acomplishing this is 2064. Fringes of the movement have gone much further. Predictions of disaster are common. Here's one.

When political enthusiasm leads to excessive regulation, the costs thereby imposed can kill more people than are saved by the regulations. Here's a strong argument that EPA air quality regulations have been harmful to health.

"Hundreds of millions of people will soon perish in smog disasters in New York and Los Angeles...the oceans will die of DDT poisoning by 1979...the U.S. life expectancy will drop to 42 years by 1980 due to cancer epidemics." - Paul Ehrlich, 1969, in _Ramparts_ magazine
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