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Air Pollution

Hazardous Pollutants Quick Outline

Hazardous Pollutants Quick Outline

Hazardous pollutants present hazards to human health. Their affect on human physiology ranges from asthma to pulmonary as well as other forms of cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of air pollutants that are hazards to one’s respiratory and overall health. Breathing is an involuntary function.

Nose hairs and mucous are designed to trap foreign objects that are breathed in. However, many hazardous air pollutants go beyond the body’s natural physical barriers and breathed in. Air pollutants that present irreparable hazards to one’s health are included on the EPA’s list of toxic chemicals.

The list does not indicate whether or not the status of the air pollutants. There is no indication as their banning or regulation. It is safe to assume that the chemicals that are included on the government’s list are regulated rather than banned because the agency’s primary function is to regulate environmental pollution.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of what pollutants are common to one’s area. That way, medical professionals and public health agencies can address toxic hazards in a more effective manner.

By law the people have a right to know what hazards pose a clear and present danger to one’s health. The respiratory system is not the only affected system from hazardous air pollutants. Oxygen and foreign chemicals are carried from the lungs, straight to the circulatory system.

Blood carries the hazardous toxins throughout the entire body. Major toxic air hazards are mostly carcinogens that can cause lung cancer. Mercury in air pollution has links to autism. Mercury hazards in the air are common to the energy industry. The steel industry is also known for presenting hazards to its employees and neighbors.

At the turn of the 20th century, the steel industry rapidly changed the Indiana landscape in the northern region of the state. Many workers were unaware of the hazards. Major cities like Gary, Indiana became important steel industry towns that contributed to the building of Chicago.

The sky literally glowed orange with molten ferrous oxide. The pollutants took a toll on the northern Indiana population and chest and respiratory illnesses were common in the area. By the 1970s, the local steel industry had begun to dwindle. The industry still exists in that region of the United States.

Occupational diseases and environmental hazards have been reduced as a result of the region’s slow de-industrialization. An unfortunate side-effect of the de-industrialization of the American industrial heartland of the Great lakes was increased poverty in the region.

The once great cities along the great lakes have become collectively known as the Rust Belt by the late 1980s. The Rust Belt spans from Buffalo, New York to Gary, Indiana. Chicago was spared because its economy was diverse enough.

Hazardous air pollutants are still a major problem across the United States despite the national decline in heavy industry. The EPA uses environmental assessments to keep hazardous air pollutants at safe levels if it cannot be eliminated altogether. Laws are made to reduce hazardous air pollutants as much as feasibly possible.

What Are Mobile Sources

What Are Mobile Sources

The Mobile sources of air pollution are automobiles,
planes, trains, and boats. If a vehicle or vessel is equipped with an internal
combustion, jet, or diesel Engine, it contributes to air pollution. All
motorized vehicles create pollution while the engine is turned on.

The greater contributor to air pollution are jet planes. The Airplane industry, airports,
and pilots are first and foremost concerned with flight safety. However,
environmental regulations are also important to the airplane industry. 

Airplanes make the largest contribution to air pollution
by generating tonnes of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and volatile organic
compounds. Carbon dioxide is believed to be a major contributor to
anthropogenic global warming. Nitrogen oxide also contributes to global
warming; however, it is better known as the force behind smog.

Volatile organic
compounds vary. Many VOCs are well-known carcinogenic substances. Planes burn
tonnes and tonnes of fuel. In the United States, alone over 500 million miles
were flown in 2008 alone. Airplanes are the least fuel efficient vehicles
because they are constantly battling gravity and air resistance.

Air plan
manufacturers have built planes faster and more efficient with the
implementation of the jet engine after WWII. Commercial aviation exploded after
the Jet engine made for safe and rapid travel. Propeller planes are equipped
with diesel engines that make their own pollutants.

Diesel engines are extremely common. Many freight trains,
boats, freight trucks, and personal vehicles are equipped with diesel engines.
Older diesel engines produced thick plumes of black smoke. The benefit of
diesel is that it burns fuel very slowly.

The EPA worked in collaboration with
engine manufacturers to produce less pollution from diesel engines. The EPA has
mandated clean burning diesel engines to be equipped on all cars and trucks
manufactured after 2005. Diesel has become cleaner than it used to be but is
still a big polluter. The trucking industry is the greater contributor to
diesel related air pollution.  

Regular Gasoline powered internal combustion engines are
also major contributors to air pollution. Well over 90% of all personal
vehicles have gasoline powered internal combustion engines. Their pollution is
similar to that of diesel engines, without the nasty black cloud of smoke.
Automobiles used to put lead into the air as pollution.

Lead poisoning causes
infertility and permanent brain damage in small children. Lead used to be an
additive in fuel. The Federal Clean Air Act banned the addition of lead to gasoline. By
1990, no on or off-road cars or trucks were able to run on leaded fuels. This
legislation was mandated thanks to the invention of the catalytic converter.
Prior to that invention lead was added to fuel to prevent engines from
misfiring.

The catalytic converter served this purpose by regulating the flow
of gas through the exhaust. The catalytic converter also reduced other air
pollution significantly. Cars from before the late 1970s polluted more than
newer cars. Modern cars still add pollutants like hydrocarbons, benzene,
nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monooxide. Car pollution is
responsible for the infamous could of haze that floats over the City of Los
Angeles.