Air Pollution

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Air Pollution

With the great concern surrounding the destruction of the earth’s atmosphere
due to air pollution, the immediate and direct harm caused to the human body is
often over shadowed. While many are aware that our careless use of hazardous
chemicals and fossil fuels may leave the planet uninhabitable in the future,
most over look the fact that they are also cause real damage to our bodies at
this moment. Such pollutants cause damage to our respiratory system, leading to
the fluctuation of the life span of an individual depending on a number of
conditions. Amongst these conditions are the individuals specific geographic
location, age, and life style. This paper is structured as a series of relevant
questions and answers to report on the description of these pollutants there
affects on our bodies. What are the pollutants? And how do they affect our
bodies? In order to understand how air pollution affects our body, you must
under stand exactly what this pollution is. The pollutants that harm our
respiratory system are known as particulates. Particulates are the small solid
particles that you can see through a ray of sunlight. They are products of
incomplete combustion in engines (example: automobile engines), road dust, and
wood smoke. Billions of tons of coal and oil are consumed around the world every
year. When these fuels burn they produce smoke and other by-products into the
atmosphere. Although wind and rain occasionally wash away the smoke given off by
power plants and automobiles, much still remains. Particulate matter (soot, ash,
and other solids), usually consist of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide,
sulfur dioxide, various nitrogen oxides, ozone, and lead. These compounds
undergo a series of chemical reactions in the presence of sunlight, the result
is smog (a term used to describe a noxious mixture of fog and smoke) The smog in
this photograph of Beijing, China is so dense that you can barely see the
mountains The process by which these pollutants harm our bodies begins by simply
taking a breath. Particulates are present every where, in some areas they are as
dense as 100,000 per milliliter of air. The damage begins when the particulates
are inhaled into the small air sacs of our lungs called alveoli. With densities
such as 100,000 per milliliter a single alveolus may receive 1,500 particulates
per day. These particulates cause the inflammation of the alveoli. The
inflammation causes the body to produce agents in the blood that in crease
clotting ability, which leads to the decreased functionality of the
cardiovascular system, resulting in diseases and increased mortality. In the
blood, carbon monoxide interferes with the supply of oxygen to all tissues and
organs, including the brain and heart. Particulates accumulate on the mucous
linings of the airways and lungs and impair their functioning. Continued
exposure to particulates damages the lungs and increases an individual's chances
of developing such conditions as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Inside the
alveoli of the lungs, particulate air pollution irritates and inflames them.

While you may see pollutants such as particulates, other harmful ones are not
visible. Amongst the most dangerous to our health are Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen

Oxides, Sulfur dioxide, and Ozone. If you have ever been in an enclosed parking
garage or a tunnel and felt dizzy or light-headed then you have felt the effect
of carbon monoxide(CO). This odorless, colorless, but poisonous gas is produced
by the incomplete burning of fossil fuels, like gasoline or diesel fuel. Carbon

Monoxide comes from cars, trucks, gas furnaces and stoves, and some industrial
processes. CO is also a toxin in cigarettes. Carbon Monoxide combines with
hemoglobin in the red blood cells, so body cells and tissues cannot get the
oxygen they need. Carbon Monoxide attacks the immune system, especially
affecting anyone with heart disease, anemia, and emphysema and other lung
diseases. Even when at low concentrations CO affects mental function, vision,
and alertness. Nitrogen Oxide is another pollutant that has been nicknamed a
jet-age pollutant because it is only apparent in highly advanced countries.

Sources of this are fuel plant, cars, and trucks. At lower concentrations
nitrogen oxides are a light brown gas. In high concentrations they are major
sources of haze and smog. They also combine with other compounds to help form
ozone. Nitrogen Oxides cause eye and lung irritation, and lowers the resistance
to respiratory illness, such as chest colds, bronchitis, and influenza. For
children and people with asthma, this gas is can cause death. Nitrogen Oxides
maybe the most dangerous of these pollutants because it also makes nitric acid,
when combine with water in rain,

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