How serious a loss was occasioned by these paleotechnic habits one can see even today, and one can put it in terms that even paleotects can understand: the annual cost of keeping Pittsburgh clean because of smoke has been estimated at $1,500,000 for extra laundry work, $750,000 for extra general cleaning, and $360,000 for extra curtain cleaning: an estimate which does not include losses due to the corrosion of buildings, to extra cost of light during periods of smog, and the losses occasioned by the lowering of health and vitality through interference with the sun’s rays. The hydrochloric acid evolved by the Le Blanc process for manufacturing sodium carbonate was wasted until an act of the British Parliament in 1863, incited by the corrosive action of the gas on the surrounding vegetation and metal work, compelled its conservation. Need one add that the chlorine in the “waste-product” was turned to highly profitable commercial uses as a bleaching powder? (Mumford 1934:168)
MUMFORD, Lewis. 1934. Technique and civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.