Re: Biology Question on Trees and Polution

In article <eeeD5rBJu.781@netcom.com>,
eee@netcom.com (Mark Thorson) wrote:
> Polycyclic aromatics and the other compounds you mention are supposedly evil
> chemical wastes, but are produced in small quantity.  Unless you happen to
> live in Seveso, Italy, the real meaning of the word pollution mostly translates
> into smog.  Trees, lawns, etc. produce volatile organic compounds (VOC's)
> which become smog.

Of course trees, lawns, etc. produce volatile organic compounds.
They always have, and always will.  The entire biosphere has evolved
to tolerate, and in many cases benefit from, these kinds and levels
of emissions.

The problem is the extra man-made VOCs, above and beyond the
naturally-occurring ones, different in very many cases from the
natural VOCs, and generated in vastly higher concentrations than
the natural VOCs, are not something that the biosphere has evolved
to cope with.

The Reaganite argument, which boils down to "trees generate VOCs
so we don't have to worry about man's air pollution" is a false
one.  It's like observing that death and killing occur all over
the natural world, so therefore murder must be OK.
> Around here, bread-baking plants have been required, at great expense, to
> install scrubbers to remove ethanol from the proofing rooms for bread
> dough (ethanol is produced by the yeast which make bread rise).  These
> hydrocarbons are taken very seriously by the air pollution people.

You didn't mention where "here" is, so I can't really pass
judgement on the possible contribution of bakeries to the
overall organic compound pollution problem in your area.  But
I'll wager that if the same amount of money were spent to take
cars that fail emissions tests off the road permanently by
buying them from their owners, it would go further to reduce
air pollution than scrubbers in bakeries.  Unless your community
has a lot of bakeriers and few cars.