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Lecture 2

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Environmental Studies
Jim Mc Cutcheon

EESA Notes Lecture 2 Nitrogen Oxides and Sulfur Oxides  contributes a great amount in formation of ground ozones combined with volatile organic compounds and the help of the heat and sunlight  form in any type of combustion process  When in air, can easily form acids (acids aerosols), therefore, nitrogen contributes in formation of acid rain acidifies soils and open water  Can form nitrate particles when reacting with solid particles (salts) and can stay in the air or come back to the soil surface through rain and contaminate soil.  Regardless of source of nitrogen oxides, nitrogen oxides can travel very far like ozone.  A major affect they have on our bodies is harm to our lungs and other breathing organs. The intensity and location of damage to our body depends on the forms of the nitrogen oxides. o If it is water soluble, it causes damage to upper areas of our respiratory system (e.g. nose, bronchioles, throat) o If it is not water soluble, it will reach lower areas of our lungs and affect small airways.  Nitrogen oxide gases are harmful to those who already have respiratory problems (e.g. Asthma – most common) or weak immune system. Children are more vulnerable to such a negative effect.  How are Sulfuric Oxides produced: usually during the burning of coal (soft coal) and oil and as well from the extract of metals from ores.  Sulfur Dioxides are very soluble and can dissolve in water vapour or water molecules in air and forms acid rain (similar to nitrogen dioxide).  Sulfur oxide gases can react with other solids and form solid sulfates. Lead  Major reason lead is found in air (especially in urban areas) is b/c gasoline was leaded (not anymore)  Young children are particularly sensitive to the aversive effects of lead.  Lead in air can slowly deposit on soil and water surfaces (can enter our food chain).  Some may accidentally ingest lead contaminated soil INDOOR AIR POLLUTION  Recently science realized that indoor air pollution can contain 2-5 times higher concentrations of hazardous pollutants than outdoor air. Why? One reason is because modern buildings are built very air tight to conserve energy but resulted in very little ventilation and contaminated air stays in the buildings and accumulates. As well, most people spend about 90% of our time indoors (e.g. children, elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic illness).  Sources of pollutants: o building materials and furnishing (e.g. wall, paints) o asbestos insulation (not in use as much) o wet or damp carpet (e.g. chemicals on new carpets) o furniture made of certain pressed wood products (e.g. almost all wood is treated and pressed with glue which can evaporate) o cleaning products and air fresheners (e.g. Lysol) o personal care and hobbies (e.g. hairspray) o Other sources can be from cooking and insecticides. o Heating (e.g. any type of combustion in developing countries) o Radon o Smoking o Outdoor air pollution (all contaminants found outside can be found inside)  What is the problem then? o Most people won’t know that we are exposed to pollutants because they are indetectable through our senses. o The symptoms we get if exposed and harmed are not specific and may be mistaken for flu or a cold. o Regular concentrations and exposure is required before symptoms develop o Symptoms of aversive effects to regular exposure: tiredness, dizziness, nausea, irritation of the nose (e.g. itchy) o Symptoms of aversive effects to high concentration exposure over many years: cancer, asthma Asbestos  Greyish-white material  It is a fibrous material (group of six different minerals – natural minerals) which is separable, long, strong and flexible heati
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