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.