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close this bookIndustrial Metabolism: Restructuring for Sustainable Development (UNU; 1994; 376 pages)
View the documentNote to the reader from the UNU
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPart 1: General implications
close this folderPart 2: Case-studies
close this folder6. Industrial metabolism at the national level: A case-study on chromium and lead pollution in Sweden, 1880-1980
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe use of chromium and lead in Sweden
View the documentCalculation of emissions
View the documentThe development of emissions over time
View the documentThe emerging immission landscape
View the documentConclusions
View the documentReferences
Open this folder and view contents7. Industrial metabolism at the regional level: The Rhine Basin
Open this folder and view contents8. Industrial metabolism at the regional and local level: A case-study on a Swiss region
Open this folder and view contents9. A historical reconstruction of carbon monoxide and methane emissions in the United States, 1880-1980
Open this folder and view contents10. Sulphur and nitrogen emission trends for the United States: An application of the materials flow approach
Open this folder and view contents11. Consumptive uses and losses of toxic heavy metals in the United States, 1880-1980
View the documentAppendix
Open this folder and view contentsPart 3: Further implications
View the documentBibliography
View the documentContributors
 

The development of emissions over time

In Sweden, the production emissions of chromium increased drastically in the period 1910-1970. Until the 1950s, tanning (see table 2) was the main source of chromium pollution, while steel and ferrochrome plants (see table 3) dominated the emissions after 1960. Despite a continued increase in chrome alloy steel production, the emissions drastically decreased in the 1970s, owing to an increasingly effective control programme.

The use of chromium in Sweden has increased constantly since the beginning of the century. Between 1950 and 1980, imports increased more than sixfold (see table 4). Most of the chromium will end up in the technosphere in numerous products. Even if only very small quantities are assumed to reach the environment, in the long run these emissions will be most significant. As consumption emissions are still increasing, leaching from chromium products appears to be a major future source of pollution.

Table 2 Calculated chromium emissions from tanneries in Sweden, 1910-1980

Year Number of
tanneries
Number of
workers
Production
of leather
(T/yr
-1)
Emissions
to water
(t/10 yr)
1910 279 2,050 250 230
1920 177 2,580 1,330 1,220
1930 72 1,940 1,960 1,800
1940 48 2,850 2,740 2,520
1950 37 2,690 3,070 2,820
1960 24 1,640 1,750 1,600
1970 13 1,070 650 600
1980 7 719 3 225

Source: Swedish Industrial Statistics, various years.

Table 3 Calculated chromium emissions from ferrochrome alloy and steel plants in Sweden, 1920-1980

Year Ferrochrome alloy plants Steel plants
Ferrochrome production
(10³ t yr
-1)
Chromium
emissions
to air
(t 10 yr
-1)
Purchase of
FeCr
(10³ t)
Chromium emissions
(t 10yr
-1)
FeSiCr FeCr Air Water
1920   2 58 0.5 10 41
1930   10 422 2 66 267
1940   14 594 7 171 696
1950   12 984 12 322 1,360
1960 44 12 3,150 30 861 3,660
1970 64 54 4,470 79 1,340 5,900
1980 152 28 1,050 85 338 1,710

Source: Swedish Industrial Statistics, various years.

Table 4 Total consumption emissions in Sweden, 1920-1980 (calculated from import surplus)

Year Import
(t yr
-1)
Export
(t yr
-1)
Consumption
emissions
(t/10 yr)
1910 175    
1920 1,573 16 497
1930 8,224 2,889 643
1940 8,120 5,846 1,560
1950 17,837 3,224 3,990
1960 52,258 11,172 8,290
1970 79,818 17,114 11,200
1980 117,360 60,860 12,300

Source: Swedish Trade Statistics, various years.

For lead, production emissions culminated in the 1970s, but owing to improved production control are now relatively limited. The total production emissions to air in the period 1880-1980 (see table 5) have been dominated by one particular metalworks (Rönnskär), with a percentage of up to 57 per cent. Other contributors have been iron and steel production (16 per cent), rubber (12 per cent), glass (11 per cent), and battery manufacture (2 per cent). The major sources of total emissions to water (see table 6) have been metalworks (47 per cent), iron and steel (39 per cent), mining (9 per cent), and crystal glass production (5 per cent).

The consumption of lead in Sweden increased drastically in conjunction with rapid industrialization, by more than 40 times between 1880 and 1960. But since then it has decreased because of the stagnation in some of its major areas of use, and also because of increased recycling. The shares of the various uses have changed significantly over the hundred years. By the end of the last century, metal products and chemicals, mostly white and red lead used in paint, were dominant. Since around 1920, most of the lead has been used for cables and batteries, while metal products and chemicals have kept stable shares of 10-15 per cent each (see table 7).

Table 5 Calculated lead emissions to air in Sweden, 1880-1980 (based on production figures), in tonnes per year

Year Coal Oil Metal,
non-ferrous
Iron and
steel
Battery Glass Rubber Total
1880 1   1 4   1   7
1885 1   3 6   1   12
1890 2   3 7   2   13
1895 2   6 10   3   21
1900 3   5 12   4   34
1905 4   7 15   4   30
1910 5   5 18   5 1 33
1915 5   14 18   3 1 41
1920 3 <1 17 18 1 7 4 50
1925 4 <1 4 11 2 9 4 33
1930 6 <1 3 15 2 10 8 44
1935 7 <1 33 16 3 14 9 81
1940 6 <1 77 24 3 9 13 131
1945 0 <1 96 28 5 13 9 152
1950 7 1 77 29 7 20 45 187
1955 6 4 239 47 9 27 53 384
1960 4 6 250 7' 10 40 56 436
1965 3 10 385 99 15 63 65 640
1970 3 14 427 89 20 74 77 704
1975 2 11 427 69 10 100 76 695
1980a 2 10 245 50 1 30 60 398
Total

(1880-1980)

400 300 11,700 3,300 400 2,200 2,400 20,600

Source: For production figures: Swedish Industrial Statistics. various years.

a. Estimated by the Swedish Environmental Protection Board.

Table 6 Calculated lead emissions to water in Sweden, 1880-1980 (based on production figures), in tonnes per year

  Metal,
non-ferrous
Iron and
steel

Ore production

 
Laisvall Other Glass Total
Year
1880 1 4   <1 <1 5
1885 2 6   <1 <1 8
1890 2 9   <1 <1 11
1895 3 11   <1 1 15
1900 8 13   < 1 1 22
1905 4 14   <1 1 19
1910 3 16   <1 1 20
1915 7 19   < 1 1 27
1920 9 18   <1 1 28
1925 2 11   1 2 15
1930 2 15   2 2 19
1935 11 16   3 3 30
1940 25 24   3 2 51
1945 32 28 2 5 3 63
1950 25 29 4 5 4 58
1955 78 47 7 4 5 130
1960 82 71 14 4 8 161
1965 126 99 19 4 13 238
1970 140 82 21 6 15 237
1975 140 52 23 5 20 212
1980 15 20 24 6 6 41
Total 3,600 3,000 500 200 400 7,700

Source: Swedish Trade Statistics, various years. a. Estimated by the Swedish Environmental Protection Board.

After the Second World War tetraethyl lead was introduced as an additive to gasoline. Around 1970 this use reached over 2,000 tonnes, or 3.5 per cent of total consumption. Even though this share is rather small, it has by far been the most important emission source during the latter half of the century. The production and import of lead shot and cartridges have fluctuated considerably throughout the century, but ammunition has always been a significant source of lead emissions. The total amount of lead emissions calculated from both production and consumption was approximately 190,000 tonnes between 1880 and 1980. The share of consumption emissions was 85 per cent, with about one-fourth each from both ammunition and gasoline, and one-third from other consumer uses (e.g. lead pigments, cables, and batteries). The emissions from consumption have dominated for the whole period studied (see figure 1).

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