CHAPTER 21.docx

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Western University
Environmental Science
Environmental Science 1021F/G
Geoff Stewart

CHAPTER 21: AIR POLLUTION -ASTHMA: a chronic inflammatory respiratory disorder characterized by “attacks” during which the airways narrow, making it hard to breathe; can be fatal -nitrogen dioxide is known the irritate lung tissue -nitric oxide is a chemical marker for airway inflammation – a telltale symptom of asthma -air pollution plays an important role in the increasing numbers of asthma patients -AIR POLLUTION: any material added to the atmosphere (naturally or by humans) that harms living organisms, affects the climate, or impacts structures OUTDOOR AIR POLLUTION HAS BEEN UNDER EXAMINATION FOR MANY YEARS -TEMPERATURE INVERSION: a situation that occurs when the temperature is higher in the upper regions of the atmosphere than in the lower, causing pollutants to become trapped near Earth’s surface – spike in lower atmosphere sulphur levels -much of the air pollution comes from vehicle exhaust and industry emissions – emissions from coal power plants -indoor air pollution from small particles released through solid fuels such as charcoal, wood or animal waste -air quality is the worst in Argentina, and Russia, Iraq, Romania, China -outdoor air pollutions includes chemicals and small particles in the atmosphere that can be either natural in origin – arising from sandstorms, volcanic eruptions, or wildfires – or come from humans such as pollution released by factories and car emissions, burning of any biomass -PRIMARY AIR POLLUTANTS: air pollutants released directly from both mobile sources (such as cars) and stationary sources (such as industrial and power plants) -SECONDARY AIR POLLUTANTS: air pollutants formed when primary air pollutants react with one another or with other chemicals in the air -GROUND LEVEL OZONE: a secondary air pollutant that forms when some of the pollutants released during fossil fuel combustion react with atmospheric oxygen in the presence of sunlight -acid rain is another common secondary pollutant -the stratosphere is where the ozone layer is -the stratosphere is more thin than the troposphere -air pollution can move from the troposphere into the stratosphere -o3 is good – in the stratosphere -ozone in the stratosphere is good because it blocks UV radiation from the sun -CFC’s (compounds that contain carbon, chlorine, and fluorine) – travel into the stratosphere and destroys ozone **** check slides for more description -five most problematic air pollutants: sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, ground level ozone, and lead and particulate matter -PARTICULATE MATTER: particles or droplets small enough to remain aloft in the air for long periods of time -primary pollutants include: sulphur dioxide, nitrogen monoxide or dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter -secondary pollutants include: ground level ozone, sulphuric acid, and nitric acid OUTDOOR AIR POLLUTION HAS MANY SOURCES -SMOG: hazy air pollution that contains a variety of pollutants including sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, tropospheric ozone, and particulates – mainly from the burning of fossil fuels -POINT-SOURCE POLLUTION: pollution that enters the air from a readily identifiable source such as a smokestack - it is possible to identify the pollutions exact point of entry into the 1 environment – easier to regulate and monitor -NON-POINT POLLUTION: pollution that enters the air from dispersed or mobile sources -VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS: a variety of chemicals that readily evaporate but don’t dissolve in water -POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBON: released as by-products from the combustion of wood, tobacco, coal or diesel THE AIR WE BREATHE AFFECTS OUR LUNGS, ESPECIALLY THOSE OF CHILDREN -low-income or minority areas often have some of the worst air -ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: the concept that access to a clean
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