U.S. Geological Survey - science for a changing world

Scientific Investigations Report 2006–5194

Effects of Regulation and Technology on End Uses of Nonfuel Mineral Commodities in the United States

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006–5194

ONLINE ONLY

By Grecia R. Matos

Download PDF file for SIR 2006-5194 (.7 MB)


Abstract

The regulatory system and advancement of technologies have shaped the end-use patterns of nonfuel minerals used in the United States. These factors affected the quantities and types of materials used by society. Environmental concerns and awareness of possible negative effects on public health prompted numerous regulations that have dramatically altered the use of commodities like arsenic, asbestos, lead, and mercury. While the selected commodities represent only a small portion of overall U.S. materials use, they have the potential for harmful effects on human health or the environment, which other commodities, like construction aggregates, do not normally have.

The advancement of technology allowed for new uses of mineral materials in products like high-performance computers, telecommunications equipment, plasma and liquid-crystal display televisions and computer monitors, mobile telephones, and electronic devices, which have become mainstream products. These technologies altered the end-use pattern of mineral commodities like gallium, germanium, indium, and strontium. Human ingenuity and people’s demand for different and creative services increase the demand for new materials and industries while shifting the pattern of use of mineral commodities.

The mineral commodities’ end-use data are critical for the understanding of the magnitude and character of these flows, assessing their impact on the environment, and providing an early warning of potential problems in waste management of products containing these commodities. The knowledge of final disposition of the mineral commodity allows better decisions as to how regulation should be tailored.

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Methods

Overview of Materials Flow

Shifts in End Uses of Mineral Commodities Owing to Regulation

Arsenic

Asbestos

Lead

Mercury

Shifts in End Uses of Mineral Commodities Owing to Changing Technologies

Gallium

Germanium

Indium

Strontium

Summary

References Cited

Contact Information: Grecia R. Matos

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Persistent URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2006/5194
Page Contact Information: USGS Publishing Network
Last modified: Monday, March 27 2007, 10:44:49 AM
FirstGov button  Take Pride in America button