This 1946 historical photograph was captured, during a U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) field study, and depicted the air polluted landscape of an American city. This type of evidence helped to forge the rules and regulations to which industry must abide in order to stem the environmental damage created by industrial pollution. Now, industrial plant exhaust stacks are outfitted with filtration devices, which dramatically curtail the indiscriminant expulsion of air pollutants into the atmosphere.
The NIOSH Historic Photo Collection from which this photograph was derived, began as the Picture File of the Industrial Hygiene Division of the USPHS, c. 1930-1960. It is a unique collection of mid-20th Century images of American workers and workplaces, and documents occupational safety and health research of that era. The collection consists of approximately 1,000 original photographs and schematic drawings.