ENVR 203 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Foodborne Illness, Volatile Organic Compound, Soot

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26 Jan 2013
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Airborne Hazards
Outdoor Air Quality: Six Common Air Pollutants
o Ground Level Ozone
o Particulate Matter
o Carbon Monoxide
o Nitrogen Oxides
o Sulphur Oxides
o Lead
OZONE (O3)
VOC (volatile organic compounds) + NOx + Heat + Sunlight = Ozone
Can be pollutant if formed on ground level (bad) but contributes to the protection from UV
radiation high in the stratosphere (good)
Bad ozone is formed summertime and its production also depends on the time of day (e.g.
highest in afternoon), season and climate (e.g. higher levels in Mexico City and L.A. compared to
Toronto)
Transported over long distances, thus rural areas are equally affected as urban areas and as well
they can travel from south (warmer) to the north (colder)
Damages lungs (small airways). Why? Because ozone cannot dissolve into water. It does not
dissolve in upper levels of our airways but further down and closer to our lungs and execute
damage.
Leads to symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and nausea
It may irritate and damage eyes, nose, sinuses and throat
Particulate Matter (PM)
Particles (liquid, solid) found in air (e.g. dust, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets)
They can be produced by combustion process and as well be produced in the air in the
combination of solid particles with water or water vapour
They can be big or small
The size is proportional to the amount of harm a particulate matter may cause harm.
Particles smaller that are 2.5 microns are considered harmful because they can reach lower level
of our lungs and travel further due to their small sizes.
Some sources contributing to particulate matter are vehicles, factories, construction sites, tilled
fields, stone crashing, burning
They can cause very serious lung damage
Carbon Monoxide
It is odourless and colourless
It is the result of incomplete burning of carbon containing fuels
Heater, woodstoves, gas stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, automobile exhaust, tobacco smoke
are common sources of carbon monoxide
1000 people die each year in USA as a result of CO poisoning
Sometimes its symptoms are confused with the symptoms of flu or food poisoning
Fetuses, infants, elderly and people with heart and respiratory illnesses are at high risk for
adverse affects of CO
Health effects of carbon monoxide:
o Interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body
o Worsens cardiovascular conditions
o Fatigue
o Headache
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