Air Pollution Facts and Deadly Effects
Air is a mixture of several gases, mostly nitrogen and oxygen; it has no color, no smell, and no taste. Pure air has vital role in all living beings; you cannot live without it. Unfortunately, the air we breathe these days is far from being pure. It is polluted by solid particles: dust, sand, soot, etc. Air pollution is not a minor health concern; it can cause serious respiratory diseases which can lead to fatal complications. In developed counties, air pollution is a real public health issue; it is responsible for large numbers of diseases in United States as well as in China and other many other countries. To optimize indoor air you breathe in your house or office, it is important to add an air purification system.
Below are some of the pollutants that pollute our atmosphere:
Heavy metals – Heavy metals include a family of compounds quite extensive; the most common is the lead, most located in the particle, with the exception of mercury (gas). The main metals suspected are Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), Nickel (Ni), Lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn). They come from burning coal, oil, garbage and some industrial processes (Non Ferrous Metals in particular). The metals accumulate in the body and cause toxic effects. They can affect the nervous system, kidney function, liver, respiratory, etc.. The potential toxic and carcinogenic, however, varies considerably from one compound to another.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) – Sulphur dioxide (SO2) comes mainly from combustion of fossil fuels, volcanic eruptions, biomass burning. Coal burning is the single largest man-made source of sulphur dioxide, accounting for about 50% of annual global emissions, with oil burning accounting for a further 25 to 30%. It is an irritant gas, colorless and soluble in water. Health effects caused by exposure to high levels of SO2 include breathing problems, respiratory illness, lesions in the lungs, and worsening respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
Nitrogen oxides (NOX) – These compounds are formed by oxidation of nitrogen (N 2) during combustion (mainly at high temperature) of fuel at high temperatures. Nitrogen oxides, with volatile organic compounds, are involved in the formation of the photo-oxidizing pollution and ozone in the lower atmosphere. It penetrates the respiratory system and may, from 200 μ g.m – 3, lead to impaired lung function and bronchial hyper-reactivity in asthmatics. In children, it increases the sensitivity of the bronchial microbial infections.
Carbon monoxide (CO) – Traffic represents the main source of carbon monoxide. It comes from Unvented kerosene, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages; and tobacco smoke. Incomplete oxidation during combustion in gas ranges and unvented gas or kerosene heaters may cause high concentrations of CO in indoor air. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO tends to cause mild effects that are often mistaken for flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.
Dust – airborne dust from certain industrial processes (cremations, quarries, cement), domestic heating in winter but mostly in car traffic near roads. The finer (<5 μ m) penetrates the alveoli and may, especially in children, irritate the respiratory tract or impair lung function.
Ozone (O3) – Ozone is a colorless gas and a powerful oxidant penetrating easily to alveoli. It causes, from prolonged exposure of 150 to 200 μ g.m – 3, eye irritations, headaches, coughing and impaired lung especially among children and asthmatics. Physical exercise may worsen the effects.
Protect yourself from air pollution
Although it is very difficult to completely prevent the effects of air pollution, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of become victim. Here are some tips:
– ventilate all parts of the house and do so regularly,
– Use decorative products that have low emission of pollutants
– Do not smoke inside your home especially when there are children
– Pay attention to maintenance products that you use; always respect the dosages
– And the most important, Use air cleaners. Certain air cleaners deliver a complete filtration solution, removing odor and a wide variety of particles, sub-micron particles, chemicals, gases, micro-organisms: dust, mold, pollen, tobacco smoke, chemical vapors, gases, viruses and bacteria