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.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Effects of Regulation and Technology on End Uses of Nonfuel Mineral Commodities in the United States