Air pollution is the initiation 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. Air pollution occurs when the air contains gases, fumes, dust, or other harmful agents. According to Morgan (2003), air pollution was not a problem until the 19th century and Industrial Revolution because pollution was readily diluted in the atmosphere (Morgan, Environmental Health, 2003, p. 47). Air pollution occurs in many forms but can generally be thought of as gaseous and articulate contaminants that are present in the earth’s atmosphere (Air Pollution – Its Nature, Sources, and Effects, 2013). Natural sources of air pollution include forest fires, dust Storms, and volcanic eruptions (Morgan, Environmental Health, 2003, p. 249). Air pollution can affect an individual’s health in many different ways; from short-term exacerbations of illness to long-term effects.
Individuals are affected by air pollution in different ways. Short-term effects include ear, nose and throat irritation, and upper respiratory infections. Long-term effects include respiratory disease, lung disease, and heart disease. People who have asthma can experience complications when the air is polluted. In the great “Smog Disaster” in London in 1952, four thousand people died in a few days due to the high concentrations of pollution (How can air pollution hurt my health? . Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by wheezing. Asthma is a growing public health problem (Morgan, Environmental Health, 2003, p. 249). Asthma affects approximately 10 million persons and is associated with approximately 500,000 hospitalizing yearly. The prevalence of asthma in the U. S. Has rapidly increased by more than 75% since 1980. This increase has been seen primarily in children and certain racial groups; especially African-Americans.
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The triggers of asthma include tobacco smoke, dust mites, pets, mold, pests, and outdoor air pollution. Urban outdoor air pollution is estimated to cause 1. 3 million deaths worldwide (Air Quality and Health). Outdoor air pollution includes natural resources such as forest fires, pollen, volcanic eruptions, and natural radioactivity. Man-made sources of outdoor air pollution include burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels release nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, amongst other various agents. These agents can contribute to asthma.
According to Morgan (2003), experts estimate 30 million Americans with chronic respiratory problems are exposed to harmful levels Of smog (Morgan, Environmental Health, 2003, p. 249). Indoor air pollution also affects the prevalence of asthma. Indoor air pollution includes dust mites, pets, mold, cockroach allergens, and tobacco smoke. In a study of eight inner city areas in the Limited States, exposure to high levels of cockroach allergens was linked to asthma related health problems (Asthma and the Role of Air Pollution, 1997).
People who smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma. Asthma is a growing epidemic and can not necessarily be controlled by an individual. Air Pollutants According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has established standards for six common air pollutants which are referred to as “criteria” pollutants: ozone (03), particle pollution (PM), lead (BP), nitrogen dioxide (NON), carbon monoxide (CO), and sulfur dioxide (SIS) (Six Common Air Pollutants). Ozone is an invisible gas that is the main component of smog (Asthma and the Role of Air Pollution, 1997).
Ozone has been linked to causing numerous ill effects that contribute asthma, including inflammation f airways, decreased lung function, heightened sensitivity to allergens and an increase in respiratory symptoms (Asthma and the Role of Air Pollution, 1997). Particle pollution is transferred through industries, solid waste disposal, and fossil fuel combustion. Particle pollution can be breathed into the alveoli and small airways. Particle pollution is responsible for many hospitalizing and death each year.
Societal and regulatory changes in the United States have reduced environmental exposure of lead since the sass when heavy metal was removed from gasoline and lead soldering (Gao, 007). Lead affects the immune system increasing an individual’s risk for asthma. Environmental exposure to lead promotes Gig antibody production in children creating a higher risk of asthma (Gao, 2007). Although lead is no longer used in gasoline or paints, it still poses a threat to drinking water, dust and pollution particles in urban environments (Gao, 2007).
Nitrogen dioxide is an odorless gas that can come from appliances within your home that burn gas, kerosene, or wood. In people with asthma, exposure to low levels of nitrogen oxide can cause increased bronchial activity. Studies show a injection between breathing elevated short-term Incarcerations, and increased visits to emergency departments and hospital admissions for respiratory issues, especially asthma (Asthma Triggers: Gain Control- Nitrogen Dioxide, 2012). Carbon monoxide is another odorless gas that can trigger an asthma attack and can kill.
Carbon monoxide is emitted from appliances, stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, and vehicles. Sulfur dioxide is created from oil and coal burning which contributes to asthma. It is believed that exposure to low levels of sulfur dioxide can alter lung function of asthmatics (Asthma ND the Role of Air Pollution, 1997). Asthma Facts Factors that contribute to a person having asthma are: 1 . Gender: Women are more likely to have asthma than men. In children, boys are more likely to have asthma than girls. 2. Age: Adults ages 18 to 24 are more likely to have asthma than older adults. 3.
Race and ethnicity: Multi-race and black adults are more likely to have asthma than white adults. Black children are 2 times more likely to have asthma than white children. 4. Education level: Adults who didn’t finish high school are more likely to have asthma than adults who graduated high school or college. Income level: 5. Adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or less are more likely to have asthma than adults with higher incomes. Behavioral risk factors: 6. Smokers are more likely to have asthma than non-smokers. Obese adults are most likely to have asthma. (Data and Surveillance, 2013).
Clean Air Act The Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to protect the public from airborne contaminants. The EPA projects amendments to the Clean Air Act will save over 230,000 deaths in early 2020 (Clean Air Act, 2012). Despite the fact, the Clean Air Act is believed to save many lives; air pollution continues to inhibit the lives of asthma sufferers. Approximately 235 million people currently suffer from asthma (Asthma, 2013). Asthma is not a prejudice disease; it affects all ages, race, and sex (Graph 1). Children have a higher prevalence of asthma than adults because of the development of the lungs.
Asthma is the most chronic disease among children in the United States. Nearly 5 million children in the United States have asthma; according to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 11 children have asthma; while 1 in 12 adults have asthma (Data and Surveillance, 2013). Children appear to be most alienable to the harmful effects of ambient air pollutants; children inhale a larger volume of air per body weight delivering higher doses of different compositions that may remain in the lung for a longer duration (Tuition, Outdoor Air Pollution and Asthma in Children, 201 1, p. 70). According to Tuition (2011), another source of increased sensitivity of children to air pollution may be the qualitative and quantitative differences in the respiratory, immune, endocrine, and nervous systems during stages of rapid growth and development (Tuition, Outdoor Air Pollution and Asthma in Children, 2011, p. 70). Table 1. (Data and Surveillance, 2013). Air Quality Index An air index quality (IQ) is a government regulated communication procedure that informs the public of the current air pollution or how polluted the air is determined to be.