Air Pollution: Effects and Solutions

Why you should care and what you can do about it

Air pollution is chemicals or compounds that can be harmful to human health or well being that are air bourn. This includes hundreds of toxins, as well particulate, asbestos, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, lead, and carbon dioxide.


Seven Major Air Pollutants

All air pollutants are dangerous but the most heavily monitored are listed here along with a breif description and definition.


  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - a greenhouse gas that is largely blamed for global warming.
  • Lead- used to be used in car fuels, until 1960. Lead poisoning from water or airborne sources can cause brain damage, retardation and failure of the kidneys.
  • Asbestos- a fibrous mineral originally used for building homes until it was discovered that micro fibers are given off and can cause severe damage to the lungs, even death, if too much is inhaled and become lodged in the lung tissue.
  • Sulfur oxides (SO2) a compound formed by burning substances such as coal. This gas floats around eh atmosphere until dissolving into clouds and returning to earth as acid rain or sulfuric smog.
  • Volatile organic compounds particles of unburned gasoline vapors, paint, glue, and other airborne materials that derive from organisms
  • Nitrogen oxides- are gases which help create smog and also can cause acid rain.
  • Particulates- are also known as soot. Particulates are small microscopic pieces of matter that enter the lungs and can cause severe damage. This form of pollution has been the most heavily restricted in terms of recent regulations by lowering the standards from 10ppm (parts/million) to 2.5ppm.

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