Cornell style notes Lecture 2

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Published on 11 Mar 2011
Environmental Science
of 3
Human Health and The Environment Mid-Term Study Notes
Lecture 2
Key pointNotes
Airborne hazardsOutdoor and indoor pollution
Outdoor pollution Human-sources-stationary (e.g. industry plants)
Natural sources (e.g. volcanic ash)
Human sources-mobile (e.g. automobiles)
Outdoor health
Effect is dependant on dose or concentration
Non-severe symptoms: eye irritation, respiratory
irritation, flu
More severe: birth defects, toxic poisoning
Seven common
outdoor air
1.particulate matter
2. carbon monoxide
3.nitrogen oxides
4.sulphur oxides
5.VOC- volatile organic compounds
Particulate matterSolid or liquid and is found in the air
It occasionally forms in the air (i.e. sulphuric
Particles are big or small PM10 or PM2.5
enters lungs easily.
Formed by vehicles, factories, contruction sites,
Carbon Monoxide Odourless and colourless gas
Formed due to incomplete burning
This is present everywhere, but it is lethal when
concentrated (e.g. in garages)
Often confused with flu or food poisoning.
Interferes with oxygen circulation
Children and elderly are more at risk
Nitrogen OxidesForms in any combustion process
Forms nitrates, acid aerosols, and acid rain
Not completely soluble in water, thus damaging
Can travel far distances
Sulphur OxidesVery soluble in water, and reacts easily to form
Forms in burning of oil and core and in
extraction of metals from ore.
Can be transported over long distances
Destructive to respiratory system and
aggravates heart and lung disease.
V.O.C- Volatile
Organic Compounds
Used in industry (e.g. hydrocarbons)
Some of these produce photochemical smog
Lead Not as significant because leaded gasoline
Lead from past is still present in environment
Seen in soil and water
Children most prone to lead poisoning
Ozone VOC+Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)
Can only form due to other pollutants present in
Good ozone exists in stratosphere and bad ozone
is at ground level.
More present during certain periods because
factors are more present (i.e. summer v.s.
winter, nighttime v.s. daytime)
Travels far distances and damages lungs.
Smog 2 types of smog: 1. Photochemical 2. Sulphuric
photochemical is present due to sunlight
Indoor air pollution Concentrated forms of pollutants + more time
spent indoors + lack of ventilation = more prone
to illness
Health effects of
indoor air
Difficult to sense because symptoms are similar
to common colds or flus
Years to develop which can eventually become
cancer and asthma
Six common indoor
air pollutants
3.Mold and moisture
4.Second-hand smoke
5.Radon gas
6.Air dust
AsbestosMade up of six different minerals.
Fibers are long, strong, and flexible
Heat-resistant, difficult to break down and does
not dissolve or evaporate thus traveling long
Exposure: found in many places at low levels.
(e.g. buildings, water, demolition etc.)
Effect: asbestosis: scar-like tissue on the lungs,
as well as heart enlargement, disability and
eventually death.
Formaldehyde VOC that is colourless with a strong emall.
Gas at room temperature and can be released
through burning
Found in: cigarettes, glues, preservatives, paper
and insulation etc.
Health effects: irritation in eyes, nose, and
throat, asthma, cancer, coughing etc.
Mold and MoistureWater is not physically needed, just moisture,
such as air humidity
Creates spores that spread and creates an odor
Health effects: allergies, asthma, toxins and
Solution: control moisture
Secondhand SmokeMany compounds and many of them are
Health effect: effects cardiovascular system, eye,
throat and nose irritation
Kills many through lung cancer
Radon GasColourless, odorless, and naturally occurring
Radioactive decay of uranium
Enters homes through soil and building
AirdustDust is comprised of many things (e.g. mold,
mites, pollen, bacteria, viruses etc.)
Travels through heating and cooling systems.