How Does Air Quality Pollution Affect Health?

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What is air quality?

The air quality we breathe is made up largely of nitrogen and oxygen, together with small quantities of several other non-toxic gasses such as helium. Any potentially harmful substance, be it another gas or a cloud of particles, which contaminates the atmosphere, is regarded as air pollution.Air Quality Standards

What causes pollution in air quality?

Natural phenomena like forest fires and volcanoes pollute the air with smoke and sulfur. But most global air pollution is human-made. Fossil fuels burnt to generate electricity, the industrial manufacture of metals and chemicals and the use of road vehicles all create a cocktail of pollutants which affects the quality of the air we breathe.

Air quality pollution is also common indoors. The fumes of fresh paint in a room, or tobacco smoke in a crowded bar, are both sources of air pollution which can be hazardous to health. Proper ventilation is always a wise precaution.

CONTROLLING CAR EXHAUST EMISSIONS

A conventional petrol engine gives off carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, lead particles and hydrocarbons. Lead pollution, in particular, is known to cause various physical and mental disorders, especially in children. Since the introduction of lead-free petrol in 1986, airborne lead levels have fallen by 70% and lead emission from cars reduced from 6,500 tons to 2,200 tons per year.Air Quality

But emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides produced by city traffic are increasing. Not only noxious in themselves, when acted on by sunlight they produce a photochemical smog which can contain up to ten times the normal concentration of low-level ozone. However, harmful emissions can be substantially reduced by the use of catalytic converters. Since January 1993, all new cars in the UK and EC have been legally required to have one fitted.

A conventional petrol engine gives off carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, lead particles and hydrocarbons. Lead pollution, in particular, is known to cause various physical and mental disorders, especially in children. Since the introduction of lead-free petrol in 1986, airborne lead levels have fallen by 70% and lead emission from cars reduced from 6,500 tons to 2,200 tons per year.

Severe air quality pollution leads to death alsoAir Quality Control

Severely air quality pollution can cause death, but in most Cases, the pollutants we breathe are fairly dilute and their effects either slight or cumulative. Sore eyes and throat may be experienced by city dwellers — particularly on hot summer days. The long-term effects of breathing highly polluted air may include the development of bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease and cancer. However, there is no evidence to show that inhabitants of heavily polluted areas were particularly prone to illness.

AIR QUALITY POLLUTION:  

Its source and potential effects

          Chemical               Source                      Effect
Carbon monoxidePower stations, car, exhaustsHeart disease
CFCsAerosols. refrigeration unitsHeart, lung, nervous system damage
FormaldehydeAdhesives, car exhaustsEye, lung damage, cancer
HydrocarbonsCar exhaustsProduces ozone
Hydrogen sulphideRefineries, sewageNausea, and vomiting
LeadMetal manufacture, car exhaustsBrain, nerve and blood cell damage
Nitrogen oxidesPower stations, car, exhaustsLung disorders, ozone formation
OzoneSunlight on nitrogen oxidesEye, lung damage
Sulfur dioxidePower stations, steelworksEye, lung damage

How is air quality pollution controlled?Air quality Pollution

In Most of the advanced countries, the Department of the Environment is responsible for air quality. And they Inspectorate of Pollution controls emissions from major industries; local authorities control emissions to air from smaller processes. These organizations have the power to fine or even shut down offending companies.

In most cases, the technology exists to stop the worst forms of air pollution fatal lung diseases can be caused by particles of asbestos and coal dust in the air. To protect workers from dangerous pollutants such as these, there are Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) that state the maximum levels to which an adult can be exposed without ill effects. Some experts believe current OELs are too lax.

Is pollution in the air quality dangerous?

The London smogs of the 1950s claimed the lives of thousands who were vulnerable due to existing cardio-respiratory conditions. This pollution was caused by domestic coal burning and was significantly reduced by the 1956 Clean Air Act, which created ‘smokeless zones.’

The effects of air pollution may not be so apparent today but are potentially still deadly. Cities and industrial sites remain the most heavily polluted, but the pollutants are free to disperse elsewhere.

How to control air quality pollution On the road?

Keep your car journeys to a minimum. Walk, cycle, use public transport, or share your car, and combine errands in one trip.Air Quality Testing

Ensure your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained. Keep it garaged or under cover (a cold engine emits far more pollution than a warm one) and avoided using the car for short journeys, especially when cold.

Do not let the motor idle. In a traffic jam, switch off if

likely to be delayed for more than a few minutes.

Try to avoid sudden braking or rapid acceleration, and do not speed.

How to control air quality pollution in the home?

Turn down the central heating. Ensure boilers are regularly serviced. Use smokeless fuel or install a smokeless appliance.

Where possible, avoid using solvent-based paints, glues,

varnishes, etc. (which give off hydrocarbons), or choose low-solvent types. Use a brush or roller, rather than a spray, and replace all lids and caps.

Limit your use of household cleaners, polishes, etc.

How to control air quality pollution in the garden?Air Quality Today

Shred and compost yard waste, rather than light a bonfire, and never burn household waste.

Air quality pollution

Toxins from industries which provide essential services and even life-saving drugs add to the complexity of the air pollution problem.

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