History - Research Article from Pollution A to Z

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Pollution is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it is older than most people realize. Archeologists digging through sites of Upper Paleolithic settlements (settlements of the first modern humans, between forty thousand and ten thousand years ago) routinely find piles of discarded stone tools, and the litter from the making of these tools. One could even argue that the first use of wood-burning fire ushered in the era of air pollution. Lead pollution from Roman smelters can be traced all across Europe. Yet all this early pollution was limited in its effects on the environment. As humans moved from nomadic to settled societies, however, pollution increased in magnitude, becoming a real problem for the environment and its human and nonhuman inhabitants.

Although pollution of major proportions has been a problem since the centuries preceding the Middle Ages, it is worth noting that after World War II, the type...

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This section contains 2,999 words
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History from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.