The 6 Major Pollutants

Report
The 6 Major Air
Pollutants
OZONE
 A gas that forms in the
atmosphere due to the
burning of fossil fuels
(gas, diesel, coal,
wood).
 Can be “good” up in
the atmosphere by
protecting humans
from UV rays, but
“bad” near the ground
because it is a
dangerous pollutant.
http://www.epa.gov/oar/oaqps/gooduphigh/
Ozone’s Impact on Health
 Attacks lungs in a way that is compared to getting
a “sunburn” on the lungs. In doing so, can cause:
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premature death
shortness of breath
wheezing and coughing
increased susceptibility to respiratory infection
increased risk of asthma attacks
increased need for medical treatment and hospital
admission for people with chronic lung conditions such
as asthma.
Who Is Most at Risk From Ozone?
 Children
 Anyone with asthma, emphysema or chronic
bronchitis
 Senior citizens
CARBON MONOXIDE
An odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that comes
mainly from motor vehicles and other combustion
exhaust
Carbon Monoxide’s Impact on
Health
 Interferes with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to
the brain, heart and other tissues. As a result,
carbon monoxide inhalation can result in:
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chest pain
vision problems
damage to nerves
especially dangerous for those with preexisting
conditions, as well as newborn/unborn children
http://www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/co/hlth1.html
NITROGEN OXIDE AND
NITROGEN DIOXIDE
 Both are produced when fuel (gas, kerosene) is
burned, especially in power plants and motor
vehicles. These oxides help ozone formation, and
are a health problem themselves too.
 This gas changes in the atmosphere to form acidic
particles and liquid nitric acid, and a reddish-brown
layer can be seen over urban areas where it
forms.
http://www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/nox/
Nitrogen Oxide and Dioxides Impact
on Health
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Affects the body like both ozone and sulfur dioxide
Generates water pollution through acid rain
Causes damage to lung tissue
Causes deterioration of cars, buildings, vegetation,
and crops
http://www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/nox/hlth.html
SULFUR DIOXIDE
 Created mainly when fuel containing sulfur (such
as coal and petroleum) is burned in power plants
and diesel engines.
 Like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide can change in
the atmosphere into acidic particles and into
sulfuric acid.
Sulfur Dioxide and Your Health
 Sulfur dioxide inhalation constricts air passages–
posing a serious health risk to young children.
 Even exposure to low levels of sulfur dioxide can
trigger asthma attacks and associated health
problems in asthma sufferers.
 Sulfur dioxide causes haze and acid rain, resulting
in plant and water damage.
http://www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/so2/hlth1.html
PARTICULATE MATTER
 Particulate matter is microscopic particles and tiny
droplets of liquid resulting from the burning of fuels
by industry and diesel vehicles and from earthmoving activities such as construction and mining.
Particulate Matter: The Public Health
Risks
 Larger particles can be stopped in the nose and
upper lungs by the human body’s natural
defenses. The smallest particles dodge the body’s
defenses and delve deep into the lungs, where
they may become trapped.
 Exposure can cause wheezing and other
symptoms in people with asthma or otherwisesensitive airways.
 Has been linked to increased hospital admissions
and emergency room visits for respiratory
problems (asthma attacks, bronchitis, sinus
infections) and to a major increase in early deaths.
http://www.epa.gov/air/particlepollution/health.html
LEAD
 Classification as a poisonous substance has lead to the
elimination of lead from gasoline, decreasing its
concentration in outdoor air.
 Continuing sources of lead in the environment are: lead
smelters, incineration of lead batteries, and burning lead
contaminated waste-oil.
 Today, the most common sources of lead exposure are
from contaminated soil and homes built before 1975 that
were painted using lead paint.
Lead’s Impact on Health
 Affects blood’s ability to carry oxygen
 Can impact nervous system, kidney function,
immune system, and development systems
 Can have negative neurological effects in children,
spurring behavioral problems and learning deficits
 Can cause high blood pressure and heart disease
in adults
http://www.epa.gov/air/lead/health.html
For more information on the 6 major air
pollutants please visit:
http://www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/

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