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The atmosphere is a gaseous blanket that surrounds the earth
Air is a mixture of:
- 1. Gases (78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and 1% other gases). Including 0.03% Carbon Dioxide= CO2
- 2. Liquids (water)
- 3. Solids (dust, pollen, sand, hair, skin, viruses, bacteria)
The atmosphere performs the following ecosystem services:
- 1. shields the earth from the ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
- 2. moderates climate
- 3. redistributes water in the hydrologic cycle.
Pollution of the atmosphere
Air pollution may be gases, liquids, or solids that may be in ____.
high enough concentrations to harm living organisms or materials.
3 states of matter:
- Gas (molecules move most freely) [steam]
- Liquid [water]
- Solid (molecules move very little) [ice]
harmful chemicals that enter directly into the atmosphere as pollutants.
Primary air pollutants
5 Government regulated primary air pollutants:
- 1. carbon monoxide
- 2. sulfur oxides
- 3. nitrogen oxides
- 4. hydrocarbons
- 5. particulates
5 sources of government regulated primary air pollutants:
- 1. Transportation
- 2. Fuel combustion (burning) in something other than vehicles. Example is power plants.
- 3. Industrial processes other than burning fuel
- 4. Construction/roads
- 5. Agriculture
Materials that undergo chemical reactions in the atmosphere to become harmful chemicals when they mix with other substances in the atmosphere.
Primary air pollutants may mix with other chemicals and become ____.
secondary air pollutants
Examples of secondary air pollutants:
Ozone (O3), Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4, Sulfur Trioxide (SO3), Photochemical smog.
Solid or liquid particles that are suspended in the air. (Includes soil, lead asbestos, ash, sulfuric acid droplets)
Solid particulate matter is called ____.
Liquid particulates are called ____.
Source of particulate matter:
Most produced by industry, agriculture, and motor vehicles.
Effects of particulate matter:
Reduce visibility, may corrode metals, erode buildings and statues, soils fabrics.
Mixtures of nitrogen and oxygen are:
The principle compounds of nitrogen that reduce are quality are:
Nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
Nitrogen oxides are collectively known as:
Sources of nitrogen oxides:
Nitrogen compounds are produced by motor vehicles, industry, and heavily fertilized farmland.
Effects of Nitrogen oxides:
Nitrogen dioxide gas is responsible for browning of the air and "beautiful" sunsets, and is also responsible for the "urban" smell. Nitrogen oxides inhibit plant growth, and irritate the respiratory tract. They aggravate the respiratory tract of people with asthma and bronchitis. Nitrogen oxides combine with other chemicals in sunlight to produce photochemical smog.
Nitrogen oxides combine with other chemicals in sunlight to produce:
____ may combine with water to produce nitric acid and corrode metals and degrade textiles.
Mixtures of sulfur and oxygen
____ is a colorless gas with a strong irritating odor.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
____ is a primary air pollutant.
____ reacts with oxygen to produce sulfur trioxide (SO3), a secondary air polutant. Sulfur trioxide reacts with water to produce sulfuric acid (H2SO4), another secondary air pollutant.
Sources of sulfur oxides
Burning of coal and oil.
Effects of sulfur oxides:
Sulfur oxides are of special importance in acid deposition. Sulfur oxides corrode metals, damage stone, damage plants, and irritate the respiratory tract.
____ include carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
Sources of carbon oxides:
the incomplete burning of fossil fuels.
The effects of Carbon Monoxide:
- 1. Carbon monoxide is primarily produced due to the incomplete burning of gasoline. CO can not be detected by humans. It is colorless, tasteless, and odorless, yet very toxic. This is why we should buy CO detectors.
- 2. Many accidental and non-accidental deaths occur each year due to CO poisoning. High concentrations of CO may be found in closed garages and highway tunnels.
- 3. CO binds to hemoglobin, a blood protein that serves to transport oxygen to your body tissues. CO has an affinity (attraction that is 250x greater than the capacity of oxygen to bind to hemoglobin. So if present, CO takes the place of oxygen and does not allow you to receive the oxygen you need. As a result, you dose off and die.
Effects of Carbon Dioxide:
Due to tremendous increase in the burning of fossil fuels, we are seeing an increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide leading to global warming (green house effect).
____ are mixtures of hydrogen and carbon.
hydrocarbons are mixtures of hydrogen and carbon.
• Many hydrocarbons are volatile. That is, they are unstable at common
- temperatures and will turn from a liquid to a gas and vaporize.
- • You see this happen when you fill your car with gas. The vapors you see
- emerging from the tank are hydrocarbons. This is the reason for the special gas
- nozzles we see here in Kern County, which is an air quality non-attainment zone.
Natural Sources of Hydrocarbons:
These include the terpenes (turpentine)and
- isoprene produced by plants and are responsible for such aromas as pine,
- sandalwood, and eucalyptus. Terpenes form particles that scatter sunlight and
- produce the blue haze seen above forests (Smokey Mtns).
- • Some trees produce the same amount of hydrocarbons in one day as driving 30
- miles. Therefore when you plant a tree to clean the air, it is important what kind
- of tree it is.
Man-made Sources of Hydrocarbons:
incomplete burning of gasoline
In low concentrations, they are not a serious problem. Some
- hydrocarbons found in high concentrations in benzene, rubber cement, and
- furniture or floor strippers are carcinogenic.
- • Hydrocarbons combine with other pollutants (especially nitrogen compounds) in
- sunlight to produce photochemical smog
Hydrocarbons combine with other pollutants (especially nitrogen compounds) in
sunlight to produce:
is a form of oxygen (O3). Ozone is considered a pollutant at the
earth’s surface, but is absolutely essential in a portion of the stratosphere
(6-28miles) called the ozone layer
protects us from ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Other
man-made pollutants, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s including freon and aerosol
propellants) damage the protective ozone layer and break it down into oxygen
Ozone at the earth’s surface is produced by chemical reactions of
- nitrogen oxides and volatile hydrocarbons. Sunlight is a catalyst in ozone
- production. Ozone is the most harmful chemical in photochemical smog.
Ozone reduces air visibility, irritates eyes, irritates respiratory tract, and
- causes chest discomfort. Ozone reduces productivity in plants and can lead to
- forest decline.
substances that are potentially harmful
and may be a long term health risks to people who live and work near their
source (chemical factories, incinerators).
Hazardous air pollutants (air toxics)
Examples = lead, chlorine, formaldehyde.
Examples of stationary sources:
electric power plants, especially coal fired plants
____ are the most significant source of particulates and sulfur oxides.
They also produce considerable amounts of nitrogen oxides, carbon oxides,
The top 3 industrial sources of toxic air pollutants are:
1. chemical industry
- 2. metals industry
- 3. paper industry
____ serve to suspend significant amounts of particulates
(dust) here in the San Joaquin Valley
Examples – cars, trucks, planes, trains = transportation
• Transportation produces significant amounts of nitrogen oxides, carbon oxides,
- particulate matter, and hydrocarbons.
- • FYI – One heavy-duty truck produces as much particulate matter as 150 cars.
- One diesel train engine produces as much particulate matter as 10 trucks.
- • Jet ski (2 cycle) produces as much pollution as driving 139,000 miles in a 1998
the term ____ comes from a description of the air pollution in
London during the early 1900’s which was a combination of smoke and fog.
is a newer term for
the traditional type of smog in London. It is a combination of sulfur oxides
Industrial smog (smoke pollution)
In the winter of 1953, 4000 people died in London during the world’s worst
industrial smog incident. ____ is still a significant health threat in
a brownish orange haze containing oxides of
nitrogen and hydrocarbons. The source is most commonly vehicle exhaust,
and its effects are increased by sunlight
Components of Photochemical Smog:
1. nitric acid - corrosive
- 2. PAN – (peroxyacyl nitrates) –
- damages vegetation, stings eyes
- 3. ozone – irritates eyes, coughing,
- headache, degrades rubber and
- fabric, damages agricultural
- crops and other vegetation.
Major determinants of smog in a city environment:
Topography – lay of the land, a basin serves to hold smog in place
- • Climate – more sunlight leads to greater chemical conversion less wind
- holds smog in place.
- • Thermal inversion (temperature inversion) – Normally warm polluted air
- rises and dissipates. In an inversion, warm air covers cooler air near the
- ground and pollution is trapped. These pollutants can increase to dangerous
- levels during temperature inversions. (Ex. Bakersfield/Taft in winter).
Normally warm polluted air
rises and dissipates. In an inversion, warm air covers cooler air near the
ground and pollution is trapped. These pollutants can increase to dangerous
levels during temperature inversions.
Thermal inversion (temperature inversion)
Stage 1 – you are asked to limit your activity
Stage 3 – you are asked to stay indoors
is a disease in which the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs
become inelastic, making it difficult for the person to exhale
efficiently causing breathlessness (decreased pulmonary ventilation).
this effects the tubing (bronchi) of the respiratory
system. The bronchi become permanently inflamed or swollen,
causing breathlessness and chronic (long term) coughing
Effects of Air pollution in Children:
• Children are at greater risk than adults as the lungs continue to develop throughout childhood.
- Air pollution can serve to restrict lung development.
- • Children have a higher metabolic rate than adults and therefore require about 2 times the
- amount of oxygen per pound of body weight. This means that a child breathes more air
- pollutants in to the lungs.
- • Children who live in high ozone areas and compete in sports, have a higher incidence of asthma
- than children that do not participate in sports.
- • Children who breathe the most polluted air, (nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and acid vapor)
- have less lung growth than children who breathe cleaner air.
pollution control equipment designed to
reduce particulate emissions
Electrostatic precipitators and scrubbers
this equipment puts a negative charge on particulates.
The particles are then attracted to a positively charged precipitator wall and fall off
into a collector.
uses mists of water to trap particulates in the dirty gas
The toxic dust produced by the ____ and the toxic sludge produce
by the ____ must be safely disposed of or they will cause water and soil
electrostatic precipitator, scrubber
The effects of the Clean Air Act on U.S. air pollution.
- • Air quality in the U.S. has slowly improved. The most dramatic improvement is in the
- reduction of lead in the atmosphere. Levels of sulfur oxides, ozone, carbon
- monoxide, volatile organic compounds (hydrocarbons in part), and particulates have
- been reduced.
- • Good news - Emissions in the
- United States, 1970 and 2000
- • Bad news - See Table 20-3 P. 467
- Ozone Non-attainment Areas 2002
- • Shows San Joaquin Valley including
- • We are constantly “battling” Los
- Angeles for the #1 area in the U.S.
- with the worst air pollution.
law that limits amounts of specified air pollutants in the U.S.
Ways we are meeting the challenge to clean the air include:
1. Improvement in traditional gasoline powered internal combustion
- engines. Engines with cylinder shutdown – 8 cylinder engines that
- run on 6 or 4 cylinders when they do not need extra power.
- 2. Advanced diesel engines – produce less nitrogen oxides and soot.
- 3. Hybrid cars – cars that run on a combination of gasoline and
- electricity improve economy and reduce pollution.
- 4. Fuel cells – combine stored hydrogen with oxygen from the air to
- produce electricity.
- 5. Future – Solar hydrogen with zero emissions – perhaps in the late 21st
• Air quality is deteriorating in developing nations, especially urban areas due to:
1. rapid industrialization
- 2. more automobiles
- 3. lack of emission standards
– is long
distance transport of air pollution.
Volatile chemicals are transported to
by winds to the poles and pollute the
land and ocean.
Global distillation effect
pollution inside office buildings that
causes eye irritation, nausea,
headaches, respiratory infections,
depression, and fatigue.
Sick building syndrome
topic: air pollution in the home
– a colorless, tasteless
radioactive gas produced by the
radioactive decay of uranium in
the earth’s crust.
• ____seeps through the ground
and enters buildings where it may
accumulate in dangerous levels.
It is inhaled into the lungs,
where it damages surrounding
tissue and increases the risk of
Smoking – Risk of smoking
has been established beyond
a doubt since 1960’s.
• Lung cancer is 11 times more
- frequent in smokers.
- • Smokers die on the average
- 8.3 years younger than non
• Smoking causes cancer of the
lungs, lips, oral cavity, tongue,
throat, larynx, esophagus,
bladder, kidneys, and pancreas
and hardening of the arteries.
• Smoke contains particulates,
- cancer forming hydrocarbons,
- nicotine (paralyzes breathing
- center and cilia), cadmium, and
- oxides of nitrogen.
are nonsmokers exposed to
smoke. They are at risk as well.
A smoke filled room may contain air pollutants
__ times the amount in outside air.
Non-smoking waiters that work in smoky
environments are exposed to the equivalent of
smoking 1-2 cigarettes per hour.
• Some people are violently allergic to smoke.
- • Smoking is an especially significant health
- threat to people with asthma, bronchitis,
- emphysema, and heart disease.
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