11:32 am - Monday May 28, 2012

Air Pollution

Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or damages the natural environment, into the atmosphere.

The atmosphere is a complex, dynamic natural gaseous system that is essential to support life on planet Earth. Stratospheric ozone depletion due to air pollution has long been recognized as a threat to human health as well as to the Earth’s ecosystems.

Causes of Air Pollution

There are several main causes of air pollution, the vast majority of them can be attributed to man. This article will give you a definition of air pollution and list some of the top causes and how each one contributes to the contamination in the atmosphere.

1. One of the main causes of air pollution is manufacturing. This source of pollution spews particulate matter and chemicals into the atmosphere. The exhaust from a factory includes, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and dioxide, as well as volatile organic compounds and particulates.

2. The burning of fossil fuels is a part of the everyday life of every human on the planet. We burn fossil fuels in our cars, fossil fuel is burned to extract fossil fuel from the Earth, and fossil fuel is used to process fossil fuel into its individual components.

Effects of Air Pollution

Exposure to air pollution is associated with numerous effects on human health, including pulmonary, cardiac, vascular, and neurological impairments. The health effects vary greatly from person to person. High-risk groups such as the elderly, infants, pregnant women, and sufferers from chronic heart and lung diseases are more susceptible to air pollution. Children are at greater risk because they are generally more active outdoors and their lungs are still developing. Exposure to air pollution can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) health effects. Acute effects are usually immediate and often reversible when exposure to the pollutant ends. Some acute health effects include eye irritation, headaches, and nausea. Chronic effects are usually not immediate and tend not to be reversible when exposure to the pollutant ends. Some chronic health effects include decreased lung capacity and lung cancer resulting from long-term exposure to toxic air pollutants. The scientific techniques for assessing health impacts of air pollution include air pollutant monitoring, exposure assessment, dosimetry, toxicology, and epidemiology.

Sources of Air Pollution

Sources of air pollution refer to the various locations, activities or factors which are responsible for the releasing of pollutants into the atmosphere. These sources can be classified into two major categories which are:
1. Anthropogenic Sources (Human Activity)
2. Natural Sources

Consequences of Air Pollution

Due to the far reaching impact of air pollution on the environment, and in turn the ecological status, it is a key concern. Plants are more sensitive than humans and animals to the effects of air pollution. The three most important pollutants are ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), with a greater impact on annual crops than perennial crops.

Solutions of Air Pollution

Since there is no stopping these pollutants in the air, the best way to protect yourself is to find the best air pollution solutions. However, it is essential to determine the different types of pollutants that contaminate the air. These include :

  • Odor that comes from humans, animals, cigarettes, clothing, and the likes. Well, they are definitely not deadly, but still add to the pollution in the air.
  • Microbials which are composed of fungi and bacteria from mold spores, mildew, and viruses. And because they are microscopic, they might as well live comfortably in the walls, in the air-conditioning ducts, or under the carpet for several months and even years.
  • Chemical fumes from formaldehyde and benzene which seep from furniture, beauty products, or cleaning products. Most of these chemicals are classified as carcinogens.
  • Particulates,which are the things that float through your window when the sun shines through. These are dust mites, dust, pollen, allergens, or smoke particles.
  • Radon, which is considered the heaviest gas known in the planet. It is all around us, which is why it is the second well-known cause of lung cancer.

Air pollution solutions are easy to carry out once you have identified the cause of these contaminants. Do your part in making Earth a healthy place to live in.

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