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 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.

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