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University of Toronto Scarborough
Environmental Science
Jovan Stefanovic

EESA10 Midterm Notes LECTURE 2-Ch 2 Sources of air pollution 1.Natural sources: forest fires, volcanoes 2.Manufactural sources: industry, burning of fossil fuels Airborne Hazards 1.Indoor Air pollution 2.Outdoor Air pollution Outdoor Pollution: 6 common air pollutants, regulated by US ACT (Clean Air Act of USA). We will also discuss a couple of more pollutants that are not regulated in US but still represent hazard to human health 1. Ozone Source:-photochemical reaction: VOC + NOx +heat + sunlight Ozone (3 O atoms) -formed in stratosphere (good) or ground level (bad) Mechanism/Toxicity: -Concentrations increase with temperature and amount of sunlight (location, season, and time of day) Movement: easily moved by wind Effects:-damages air ways deep in lungs, causing shortness of breath, coughing and nausea -irritate and damages the sinus (eyes, nose, throat) Protection/Prevention: -deeper breathing from exercising worsens the effects 2. Particulate matter (PM): tiny air particles (dust, soot, smoke, aerosol) Source: vehicles, factories, construction, tilled fields, demolition, stone crashing, combustion, or formed in the air Mechanism/Toxicity: -PM 2.5 and smaller travel deep into the lungs -PM larger then 2.5 stay in the nose and throat Movement: easily moved by wind Effects: -damage the airways they land in, and can form acidic materials 3. Carbon Monoxide: poisonous, odorless, colorless -emitted during the incomplete combustion of carbon fuels -1000 people die each other in US as result of CO poisoning -lower doses of CO for prolonged periods of times cause symptoms similar to flue or food poisoning (vomiting, nausea) -fetuses, infants, and elderly w/ heart and respiratory illnesses, experience adverse effects in much lower concentrations than other groups of people -Health effects of CO: -interfere with the oxygen delivery in blood to rest of body- it has a high affinity for hemoglobin -worsens cardiovascular conditions -causes fatigue, headaches, weaknesses, confusion, disorientation, loss of coordination -if concentrations increase: this poisoning will result in nausea, dizziness and death Prevention: -never leave a car engine running in a shed or garage -proper selection, installation, maintenance, and use of heaters and home appliances -good ventilation -CO detectors; should check your batteries regularly 4. Nitrogen oxides - NOx -form in combustion (industry use is limited) -usually react in air to form salts (ex with carbonates or sulfates or chlorates) -formation of nitrate particles & aerosols -formation of acid rain (although not very soluble) -involved in the formation of ozone -transported over long distances. 5. Sulfur oxides SOx -emitted during combustion of coal (soft coal emits most sulfur) and oil (gasoline emits huge amounts of sulfur dioxides) -extraction of metals from sulfur containing ores -soluble in water vapor forming acids (such as sulfuric acid, found in acid rain) -acids can react w/ other gases and suspended particles forming solid salt sulfates. -transported over long distances. Health effects: respiratory illnesses, tightness, cough, runny nose enlargement of heart and aggravates existing heart & lung diseases 6. Lead: -some countries use leaded gasoline; vehicle exhaust is full of lead -Paint, wallpapers, and water (some lead pipes still used) -New York: Bronks, poor living conditions and extremely high blood-lead levels. -in soil, close to highways, smelters -kids are extremely susceptible Indoor Pollution: -2-5 times higher concentration of pollutants than in outdoor air -affects our health significantly but is much easier to manage the quality of air inside our homes. -Modern houses are built tightly to conserve energy which results in poor ventilation (& accumulation of chemicals) -90% of our time is spent indoors, and people with health problems spend even more time indoors -Sources of indoor pollution: -air fresheners: Lysol -hobbies: glue -personal care: deodorant -cooking: Teflon releases chemicals (some carcinogens) at high temperatures -bathing: chlorine can evaporate in hot water -radon: radioactive gas (common in houses built on contaminated soil) -smoking (tobacco smoke) -outdoor pollution -pesticides -heating (combustion of oil, coal, wood) Problems: -hard to detect by our senses -symptoms need years to develop: headaches, tiredness, dizziness, nausea, allergy, sinus problems, scratchy throat -high concentrations promote asthma, cancer 1. Asbestos: common name for group of 6 different long, strong and flexible heating resistant fibers -was used for fire/heat protective close Used in: -building materials (paper products, roofing shingles, ceilings and floor tiles, and asbestos cement products) -friction products (automobile brake & transmission parts), -heat resistant fabrics, packaging, coating Asbestos in environment: -it never evaporates and never dissolves in water -doesnt move through soil -doesnt decompose (disintegrates into smaller fibers) -light, carried long distances -Water thats contaminated with asbestos since in some parts of the world cement pipes are used Exposure to asbestos: -lower levels of asbestos dont cause adverse effects (b) -higher levels (in people working in industries or live around those industries) Effects of asbestos: -affects lungs and membranes pleural membranes -Workers exposed to high concentrations over time asbestosis: hard scarred tissues are formed which can lead to very serious respiratory illnesses: difficulty in breathing, cough, heart enlargement, cough, disability, death -workers exposed to lower levels plaques in pleural membranes increased risks of cancer (lung, stomach, esophagus, pancreas, kidneys) risks will increase dramatically if they smoke (about 250 X higher risk associated with tobacco smoke) -lower levels can be measured in urine, feaces, mucus, lung washings 2. Formaldehyde: naturally occurring volatile, organic compound (VOC), colorless, strong smell -released by burning wood & natural gas, by automobiles & cigarettes -found in new cars and new furniture, carpets, glue adhesives in press wood products (particleboards, MDF, plywood) -preservative in paints and cosmetic products -coatings providing permanent press quality to fabrics and draperies and paper -insulation materials
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