effects of air pollution on human health

smog effects on human health

Human health suffers in locations with high levels of air pollution.

pollutants and their effects

Different pollutants have different health effects: Lead is the most common toxic material and is responsible for lead poisoning. Carbon monoxide can kill people in poorly ventilated spaces, such as tunnels. Nitrogen and sulfur-oxides cause lung disease and increased rates of asthma, emphysema, and viral infections such as the flu. Ozone damages the human respiratory system, causing lung disease. High ozone levels are also associated with increased heart disease and cancer. Particulates enter the lungs and cause heart or lung disease. When particulate levels are high, asthma attacks are more common. By some estimates, 30,000 deaths a year in the United States are caused by fine particle pollution.

human illnesses from air pollution

Many but not all cases of asthma can be linked to air pollution. During the 1996 Olympic Games, Atlanta, Georgia, closed off their downtown to private vehicles. This action decreased ozone levels by 28%. At the same time, there were 40% fewer hospital visits for asthma. Can scientists conclude without a shadow of a doubt that the reduction in ozone caused the reduction in hospital visits? What could they do to make that determination? Lung cancer among people who have never smoked is around 15% and is increasing. One study showed that the risk of being afflicted with lung cancer increases directly with a persons exposure to air pollution (Figure 1.1). The study concluded that no level of air pollution should be considered safe. Exposure to smog also increased the risk of dying from any cause, including heart disease. One study found that in the United States, children develop asthma at more than twice the rate of two decades ago and at four times the rate of children in Canada. Adults also suffer from air pollution-related illnesses that include lung disease, heart disease, lung cancer, and weakened immune systems. The asthma rate worldwide is rising 20% to 50% every decade.


instructional diagrams

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which of these can cause lung disease and increased rates of asthma, emphysema, and viral infections?

a) particulates

b) nitrogen oxide

c) sulfur oxide

-->  d) all of the above.

high ozone levels cause

a) diseases of the reproductive system

-->  b) heart and lung disease

c) gastrointestinal diseases

d) all of the above.

in the united states, particulates are responsible for this many deaths a year.

a) 300

b) 3,000

-->  c) 30,000

d) 300,000

shutting down vehicle traffic in a region results in a reduction in

-->  a) hospital visits due to asthma

b) gastrointestinal diseases

c) anemia

d) all of the above

due to air pollution, this disease is increasing, even for people who do not smoke.

a) stroke

b) heart disease

c) asthma

-->  d) lung cancer

scientists are certain that the increase in air pollution is causing the increase in lung cancer.

a) true

-->  b) false

a person exposed to air pollution is more likely to get lung cancer.

-->  a) true

b) false

in poorly ventilated spaces, such as tunnels, this gas can kill people.

a) carbon dioxide

b) lead

-->  c) carbon monoxide

d) methane

breathing air into which weve emitted pollutants is not much different from throwing trash in our food supply and eating it.

c) true

d) false

according to one study, no amount of air pollution is safe to breathe.

-->  a) true

b) false

diagram questions

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