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Lecture 2

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Environmental Science
Jovan Stefanovic

Week 2- Lecture 2 Airborne Hazards and Human Health Case Study 1) London Smog of December 1952 – “Great Smog” - was a severe air pollution event that affected London during December 1952. A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants mostly from coal burning to form a thick layer of smog over the city. - . The peak in the number of deaths coincided with the peak in both smoke and sulphur dioxide pollution levels- the deaths are mostly from lung infections exacerbated by chronic bronchitis- on the graph = 3600 deaths 2) Indonesian Fires of 1997 - Caused mainly by slash and burn techniques adopted by farmers in Indonesia Airborne Hazards Outdoor air pollution - Primary pollutants – from human sources eg. Factories, automobiles o Particulate matter (big/small – has serious health effects) o Particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5) o Particles found in the air (dust, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets) o Vehicles, factories, construction sites, tilled fields, stone crashing, burning o Some formed in the air o Carbon monoxide  Odourless, colourless gas  Incomplete burning of carbon containing fuels  Heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, automobile exhaust, tobacco smoke  1 000 people die each year in USA as result of CO poisoning  Have the same symptoms as of flu or food poisoning  Fetuses, infants, elderly and people with heart and respiratory illnesses are at high risk for adverse health effects  CO can interfere with the binding of Oxygen to the blood – can worsen cardiovascular conditions, nausea, headache, vomiting. o Nitrogen oxides  Formed in any type of combustion process  Involved in formation of ground level ozone  Form nitrate particles, acid aerosols  Contribute in formation of acid rain  Transported over long distances o Sulphur oxides  Burning of coal and oil, extraction of metals from ore  SO2 dissolve in water vapour to form acids  Acids react with other gases and particles and form sulphates  Transported over long distances  Respiratory illnesses, aggravates existing heart and lung diseases o VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)  Variety of organic compounds used as solvent in industry, automobiles  Hydrocarbons: methane, butane, propane  Some produce photochemical smog (brown air) o Lead  Metal and industrial sources – can deposit lead in soil  Children are primarily affected as they constantly eat soil - Secondary pollutants – from natural sources o Ground Level Ozone  VOC + NOx + Heat + Sunlight = Ozone  Summertime pollutant, time of the day, seasonal, climate  Good in stratosphere  Bad on a ground – affects people who exercise a lot outdoors  Transported on long distances  Lung
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