WHAT ARE AIR POLLUTANTS?

Air pollutants can be defined as toxic chemicals or compounds in the air.  When these levels get to high they harm human health and the earth.

For most of us, breathing is something we don’t think about because it’s not something we can see. When you can’t see pollutants such as invisible particles, it’s challenging to know what’s in the air around you.

So what exactly are we breathing when we step outside? 

Five air pollutant sources are:

These emissions of pollutants into the air can result in changes to the climate. Increasing air pollution will make climate change worst, making a few different choices about trans­portation, like walking or riding a bike will help reduce the air pollution. We can also use water more wisely and save energy by considering alternatives to gas and oil like solar or wind power.

SMOG AND SOOT

Smog is a kind of air pollution, originally named for the mixture of smoke and fog in the air , it forms when the weather is warmer and there’s more ultraviolet radiation. Smog is a problem in a number of cities, especially with a lot of industry and traffic and it continues to harm human health.

The main sources of smog are cars and trucks, factories, and power plants. Smog is espe­cially dangerous because it can penetrate the lungs and bloodstream and worsen bronchi­tis or lead to heart attacks.

POLLUTANTS

Some of the most common hazardous air pollutants are mercury, lead, dioxins, and benzene. Benzene, classified as a carcinogen by the EPA. A carcinogen is something that is known to cause cancer.  Benzene can cause eye, skin, and lung irritation in the short term and blood disorders in the long term.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, are toxic parts of traffic exhaust and forest fire. People are usually exposed to mixtures of PAHs. In large amounts, they have been linked to Irritation of the eyes and breathing passages

GREENHOUSE EFFECT

The Greenhouse effect is caused by greenhouse gases. One of them is carbon dioxide, which is a common part of transportation exhaust. These gases have far-ranging environmental and health effects. They cause climate change by trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere, and they also contribute to respiratory disease from smog and air pollution. Fur­ther effects include extreme weather, food supply disruptions, and in­creased wildfires.

When air pollutants and greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, global warming occurs. Then they absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface.

POLLEN AND MOLD

Pollen is tiny grains used to fertilize many kinds of plants. Molds are a simple, tiny living organism that eats the material it grows on. Mold can be almost anywhere, including in the soil, on plants, or on rotting wood. Mold spores float in the air, much like pollen.

These allergens are influenced by climate change and can be hazardous to health. They are not regulated by the government and are less directly connected to human activities, but they can be considered air pollution.

Pollen allergies are worsening because of climate change. The symptoms of pollen allergies include runny noses, fevers, itchy eyes, and other symp­toms.

HOW TO HELP REDUCE AIR POLLUTANTS

Every time we drive to school, use our heaters or air conditioners, clean our win­dows and even style our hair, we make choices that affect air pollution. These steps, and many others, are things that all of us can do to help reduce the number of air pollutants.

Make good choic­es about trans­portation

Ride a bike or walk instead of driving or take public transpor­tation

For driving, choose cars with a greater fuel ef­ficiency or choose an elec­tric car

Conserve energy – request that your electricity be supp lied by wind or solar

Buy food locally, it cuts down on the fossil fuels burned in truck­ing or flying food in from across the country

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