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In addition, black carbon is associated with hypertension, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD , bronchitis, and a variety of types of cancer. NO is rapidly converted to NO 2 in sunlight.

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NO x a combination of NO and NO 2 is formed in high concentrations around roadways, and can result in development and exacerbations of asthma, bronchitis, as well as lead to a higher risk of heart disease. Ozone high up in the atmosphere can protect us from ultraviolet radiation. But ozone at ground level where it is part of what is commonly called smog is a well-established respiratory irritant.

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Ozone is formed in the atmosphere through reactions of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, both of which are formed as a result of combustion of fossil fuels. Short-term exposure to ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, while long term exposure can lead to decreased lung function and cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD.

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In addition, ozone exposure can aggravate existing lung diseases. SO 2 is emitted into the air by the burning of fossil fuels that contain sulfur. Coal, metal extraction and smelting, ship engines, and heavy equipment diesel equipment burn fuels that contain sulfur. Sulfur dioxide causes eye irritation, worsens asthma, increases susceptibility to respiratory infections, and impacts the cardiovascular system.

Where Does Air Pollution Come From?

When SO 2 combines with water, it forms sulfuric acid; this is the main component of acid rain, a known contributor to deforestation. Health impacts of air pollution Our health depends on strong clean air protections. Particulate matter PM 10 , PM 2. Black Carbon BC Black carbon is one of the components of particulate matter and comes from burning fuel especially diesel, wood, coal, and others. They are emitted by various industrial processes, coal- or oil-burning power plants, residential heating systems, and automobiles.

Lead fumes airborne particulates less than 0. The six major air pollutants listed above have been designated by the U. The sources, acceptable concentrations, and effects of the criteria pollutants are summarized in the table.

What Is Air Pollution | Environmental Pollution Centers

Except for lead, criteria pollutants are emitted in industrialized countries at very high rates, typically measured in millions of tons per year. All except ozone are discharged directly into the atmosphere from a wide variety of sources.

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They are regulated primarily by establishing ambient air quality standards, which are maximum acceptable concentrations of each criteria pollutant in the atmosphere, regardless of its origin. The six criteria pollutants are described in turn below. Air pollution. Article Media.

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Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction Major air pollutants Criteria pollutants Fine particulates Carbon monoxide Sulfur dioxide Nitrogen dioxide Ozone Lead Air toxics Greenhouse gases Air pollution and air movement The global reach of air pollution Indoor air pollution.

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