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According to a 1983 article in the journal Science, "soot" found on ceilings of prehistoric caves provides ample evidence of the high levels of pollution that was associated with inadequate ventilation of open fires." Metal forging appears to be a key turning point in the creation of significant air pollution levels outside the home.Core samples of glaciers in Greenland indicate increases in pollution associated with Greek, Roman, and Chinese metal production.PCB dumping in the Hudson River resulted in a ban by the EPA on consumption of its fish in 1974.
Air pollution has always accompanied civilizations. Pollution started from prehistoric times, when man created the first fires.
As historian Martin Melosi notes, The generation that first saw automobiles replacing the horses saw cars as "miracles of cleanliness.".
Other cities followed around the country until early in the 20th century, when the short lived Office of Air Pollution was created under the Department of the Interior.
Nuclear weapons continued to be tested in the Cold War, especially in the earlier stages of their development.
The toll on the worst-affected populations and the growth since then in understanding about the critical threat to human health posed by radioactivity has also been a prohibitive complication associated with nuclear power.