Air Pollution is a contamination of the atmosphere by gaseous, liquid, or solid wastes or by-products that can endanger human health and the health and welfare of plants and animals, or can attack materials, reduce visibility, or produce undesirable odors. Air pollution is responsible for major health effects. Every year, the health of countless people is ruined or endangered by air pollution. Studies have shown that over 50,000 people were killed annually in the United States alone from air pollution.
Air pollution has now been one of the major problems worldwide due to the increase in use of fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels such as Coal causes the release of 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, the main cause of acid rain, which damages forests, lakes, and buildings. One of the main sources of air pollution comes from something most use each and every day, cars. Each time you start up your car, the burning of petroleum in your engine releases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gasses.
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Carbon Monoxide a deadly poisonous gas, that results in death if exposed to high levels. The petroleum in your engine can also increase the number of asthma cases in the world, raises a person’s chance of having cancer, and increases the chance that your child will be born with congenital defects. The pollution from the ozone layer comes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Because sunlight has a critical role in its formation, ozone pollution is principally a daytime problem in the summer months.
Ground level ozone is produced when sunlight combines with hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide, two compounds produced by cars, trucks, and found wherever gasoline, kerosene, oil or natural gas are combusted. When temperatures are high ground-level ozone reach levels that are dangerous to health. Lead is found in the air in very small particles. Lead can get into the air through soil erosion, volcanic eruptions, sea spray and bushfires. Lead smelters, mining operations, waste incinerators, battery recycling and the production of lead fishing sinkers are other sources of lead in the air.
Because many older houses were painted with lead-based paint, lead from unsafe house renovations can be an important source of lead indoors and builders and renovators need to be aware of the dangers. Lead is absorbed if dust or fumes that contain lead are swallowed or breathed in. Although small amounts of lead do not cause any specific symptoms, as much as 10% of the lead that enters an adult’s body stays there, and so even small amounts can gradually build up in the body. Large amounts of lead in the body can cause pain in joints and muscles.
Other symptoms of lead exposure include anemia, gastric problems, sleep problems, concentration problems, and high blood pressure. In children, the symptoms of lead exposure can be poor development of motor abilities and memory, reduced attention span, and colic and gastric problems. Air pollution has both acute and chronic effects on human health. Health effects range anywhere from minor irritation of eyes and the upper respiratory system to chronic respiratory disease, heart disease, lung cancer, and death.
Air pollution has been shown to cause acute respiratory infections in children and chronic bronchitis in adults. It has also been shown to worsen the condition of people with preexisting heart or lung disease. Among asthmatics, air pollution has been shown to aggravate the frequency and severity of attacks. Both short-term and long-term exposures have also been linked with premature mortality and reduced life expectancy. Health impact of air pollution depends on the pollutant type, its concentration in the air, length of exposure, other pollutants in the air, and individual susceptibility.
Different people are affected by air pollution in different ways. Poor people, undernourished people, very young and very old, and people with preexisting respiratory disease and other ill health, are more at risk. In cities, for instance, poor tend to live and work in most heavily polluted areas, and in rural areas poor are more likely to cook with dirtier fuels. In some countries, air quality standards tend to be more lax around industrial areas in cities, where many poor tend to live in squatter settlements.
Poor also tend to be more malnourished, more likely to suffer from ill health and disease, and have less access to health care. “Air Pollution. ” 2001. 13 Nov. 2011. http://library. thinkquest. org/C0110400/usr/www/tqte ams/tqic/2001/C0 110400/4 cs%20folder/AIR%20POLLUTION. html. “YourLungHealth. org – The Effects of Ozone Pollution. ” YourLungHealth. org : We Inspire Healthy Lungs. American Association for Respiratory Care, 12 Sept. 2006. 01 Dec. 2011. . “Lead in Air Pollution. ” The Good Air Lady. Sage Blossom Consulting, Jan. 2007. 01 Dec. 2011. .