Free US Law DictionaryBETA
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment, of whatever predetermined or agreed upon proportions or frame of reference; these contaminants cause instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the physical systems or living organisms therein. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances, or energy, such as noise, heat, or light energy. Pollutants, the elements of pollution, can be foreign substances or energies, or naturally occurring; when naturally occurring, they are considered contaminants when they exceed natural levels. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution.
Sometimes the term pollution is extended to include any substance when it occurs at such unnaturally high concentration within a system that it endangers the stability of that system. For example, water is innocuous and essential for life, and yet at very high concentration, it could be considered a pollutant: if a person were to drink an excessive quantity of water, the physical system could be so overburdened that breakdown and even death could result. Another example is the potential of excessive noise to induce imbalance in a person's mental state, resulting in malfunction and psychosis; this has been used as a weapon in warfare.