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University of Toronto Mississauga

Chapter 2 Urban and Transboundary Air PollutionAs a result of epidiemics scientisits increased attention to the health effects of air pollution identifiying specific pollutant sources and their transport in the atmosphere elucidating exposureresponse relationshipsThese crisis have several aspectsfirst since the atmosphere is dynamic and always changing contaminants are transported diluted precipitated and transformed Second the primary emission of sulphur oxides nitrogen oxides carbon monoxide resporable particulates and metals are severely polluting cities and twon in asia Africa and Latin eastern EuropePoor countries had higher level of total suspended particulates then wealthier countiresThird in nations that have reduced the primary emissions from heavy industry power plants and automobiles new problems have arisen from air pollution contribute to heavily to the high mortality rates observed from acute respiratory diseaseDefining adverse health effectsAny effect that results in altered structure or impaired function or that represents the beginning of a sequence of events leading to altered structure or function is considered an adverse health effectSpecific air pollutants associated with adverse respiratory effectsSeveral types of air pollution are currently recognized to cause adverse respiratory health effects sulphur oxides and acidic particulate complexs photochemical oxidants and a miscellaneous category of pollutants arising from industrial sources Sulphur dioxide and acidic aerosolsSulfur dioxide is produced by the combustion of sulphur contained in fossil fuels such as coals and crude oil The major sources of environmental pollution with sulphur dioxide are electric power generating plants oil refineries and smelters Slufor dioxide is a clear highly water soluble gas so it is effectively absorbed by mucous membranes of the upper airways with a much smaller portion reacting the distal regions of the lung The sulphur dioxide released into the atmosphere does not remain gaseous It undergoes chemical reaction with water metals and other pollutants to form aerosols Sulphur dioxide therefore together with other products of fossil fuel combustion forms the heavy urban pollution Smog a descriptive term generally referring to the visibly cloudy combination of smoke and fogan acidic aerosol is formed that has been shown to induce asthematic responses in both adults and children The havard six citities study demonstrated a significant association between chronic cough and bronchitis and hydrogen ion concentration a measure of acidity rather than sulphate levels or total particulate levels Two measures of air acidity showed significant effects
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