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Environmental Science
Jovan Stefanovic

TAs (office SW511A) James Nugent (A - F) Lisa Tutty (H- L) Slawomir Kowal (M -S) Smriti Das (T - Z and G) (A Z first letter of the student's last name) Airborne Hazards and Human Health Global problem, used to be local problem but now is a global problem from continent to continent There is no place that is perfectly safe from pollution In industrialized areas, concentration of pollution is higher Case study 1: London smog, 1952 represents landmark for air pollution The revolution and solution with air pollution started In beginning of December in 1952, the air was steady and cold So they need extensive heating in their homes for a long time The source of energy at that time almost exclusively was the coal Coal contains a lot of sulphur, when burning the coal, sulphur is released in sulphuric gas There was no wind to distribute the sulphuric gases and evacuate matter (smoke) to distribute it further, gas was stagnant So after a couple of days, everything combined with industries with same gases, and with the weather, it resulted in very thick smoke What the people felt at first felt burning sensation in their throat, had difficulty to breathe and would choke During this ten days, about 4000 people died from this, many got poisoned, got sick, young children, people with history of asthma and chronic diseases suffered most The disease was resolved by itself, no one did anything about it The wind started blowing and distributed the pollutants from the area Why it was a landmark was because the British government started investing money into sulphur in solving this city It was not just a landmark for the British, but It was also a landmark for other parts of the world A man guides a London bus through thick fog with a flaming torch during the 1952 Great Smog The smog was the result of coal burning The Relationship Between Smoke And Sulfur Dioxide Pollution And Deaths During The Great London Smog, December 1952, Source: Wilkins, 1954 The number of deaths is directly proportional to the level of sulphur dioxide and smog The two things to be blamed for the deaths was smoke and sulphur dioxide www.notesolution.com Figure shows the average smoke and sulphur dioxide levels for 12 London sites and the relationship with deaths recorded during the smog period in December 1952. The peak in the number of deaths coincided with the peak in both smoke and sulphur dioxide pollution levels. Case study 2: Indonesian Fires, 1997 o In this part of the world, it was a common practice to burn tropical forest in big areas, and after the forest is burned, the area is converted into cultural life for a number of years o Usually the burning is done every year before the rain o 1997 was different because it was a relatively hot, dry seasonthe burn prolonged o At one point, the huge extremely hot area was burning at once, the area was the approximately the size of United States o Was not just in Indonesia but was worldwide o In 1998, a similar event happened with a smaller proportion o This significantly impacted the air quality all around the world o Pollution in Canada, many cities are quite badly polluted, even the government invests a lot of money in trying to solve the problem, we still have a problem o We see improvements, but problems still persist e.g. Hamilton o Fire damage classification of the 1997-1998 fires in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, based on ERS-SAR images. o Smoke over Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia, photographed by the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Smoke from fires set to clear land for agriculture in Indonesia at one time in 1997 blanketed an area larger than the continental United States. Airborne Hazards Outdoor air pollution Indoor air pollution Outdoor air pollution Normally all sources can be divided by human sources and natural sources In the air, when primary air pollutants change, they form acids and salts (secondary particulates) Human sources stationary o When human sources are present, the nature cannot cope with it o E.g. industries Human sources mobile o Different types of vehicles Natural sources Health effects of Outdoor Air Pollution The effects depend on the dose or concentration Primary effects: o Toxic poisoning www.notesolution.com o Cancer results after long period of time of exposure o Birth defects o Eye irritation watery eyes, red, itchy, burning sensation in the eyes o Irritation of the respiratory system burning of lungs o Increased susceptibility to heart disease o Aggravation of chronic diseases such as asthma and emphysema Seven Common Outdoor Air Pollutants Primary air pollutants o Particulate matter o Carbon monoxide o Nitrogen oxides o Sulphur oxides o VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) o Lead Secondary air pollutant o Ground level Ozone Early Morning Fog Shots in Toronto Particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5) Particles found in the air (dust, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets) Big and small o Big = > PM 10, Small = < PM 2.5 o Smaller particles can be inhaled and do more harm o Not so much harm for big ones because cannot go through airways o The smaller they are, they carry longer distances o The bigger they are, the shorter the distances are Vehicles, factories, construction sites, tilled fields, stone crashing, burning Some formed in the air o E.g. salts Serious health effects Carbon Monoxide = more concerned for indoor air than for outdoor air 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 Sometimes confused with flu or food poisoning o Symptoms are similar Fetuses, infants, elderly and people with heart and respiratory illnesses are at high risk for adverse health effects Health effects of Carbon monoxide www.notesolution.com Interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body (open the windows, leave the room) Worsen cardiovascular conditions (if symptoms are prolonged) Fatigue Headache Weakness Confusion Disorientation, loss of coordination Nausea, Dizziness, Death Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Never leave a car engine running in a shed or garage or in any enclosed space Proper selection, installation, and maintenance of appliances Correct use Good ventilation Use CO detectors Carbon Monoxide Detector / Alarm Nitrogen oxides (NOx) Form in any type of combustion process Involve in formation of ground level ozone Form nitrate particles, acid aerosols Contribute in formation of acid rain Transported over long distances More soluble in water than sulphuric acids Damages the lungs in smaller airways Sulphur oxides (SOx) Less soluble in water than nitric acid 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 VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) Evaporate at room temperature and are quite smelly Variety of organic compounds used as solvent in industry, automobiles Hydrocarbons: methane, butane, propane Some produce photochemical smog Lead (Pb) Lead has been incorporated in gas and landfills Metal www.notesolution.com
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