The Environmental Movement and Human Health: An Overall Appraisal
The modern environmental movement has achieved much success but has also suffered many failures. On the positive side is the fact that unprecedented support for environmental protection has developed: the public now understands that its resources in land, fuels, raw materials, air, and water are finite and must be protected and conserved. A series of tough laws has defined the federal government’s environmental objectives and reorganized the government agencies to facilitate achievement of ambitious goals. In this process, the Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency to consolidate various functions formerly scattered throughout many government agencies. A new post of Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Health and Safety was created, and the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety was established within HEW to serve as the research arm of the Department of Labor. A major new institute, the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, has also been established. Considering also that the private and public sectors have demonstrated their willingness to spend huge sums of money to achieve the objectives of the new laws, there was every reason to believe, by the late 1960s, that environmental protection was assured.
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