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The Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health

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The Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health "What goes up must come down" The definition of air pollution or contamination is that a chemical is at the wrong concentration or in the wrong place. Attention is usually drawn to this when animals, humans or plants are harmed because the environment around them is damaged. The effects of air pollution range from annoying to lethal. Many emissions of pollutants in the atmosphere are caused by human activity but we must take into account the natural causes of pollution. Volcanoes that blast dust into the air, forest fires and swamps have all caused damage to the atmosphere around us. The damage caused by pollution to fabrics, metals and other materials is very distinct but the effects of pollutants to humans and animals are far more significant. This means that the main reason for air-pollution controls is to protect human health. Controls have been established to protect crops and the environment that humans rely on. Plants are extremely sensitive to air-pollution. Pollutants are passed from these plants to animals and then on to humans. The main causes of air-pollution. Twenty percent of the earth's population live in areas where the air is unhealthy to breath. Many of these people live in developing countries there are no laws or controls for air pollution (world health organization), What are the main causes of air pollution? ...read more.


In countries like China there is less control over pollutants and a large number of people burn coal in there homes. This fills their houses with toxic fumes, it is estimated that 2.8 million people die each year from indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution: According to the EPA, more than 3000 cases of cancer in the United States could have been caused by indoor air pollutants. Smokers, Infants aged under five, pregnant ladies and the elderly are all at high risk. Many illnesses have been linked to indoor air-pollution: sore heads, dizziness, coughing, sneezing, sore eyes and other flu-like symptoms may have been linked to `sick building syndrome'. The three most dangerous indoor air-pollutants are tobacco smoke, formaldehyde and radioactive radon gas. Exposure to asbestos fibers in the workplace is mainly a serious issue in developing countries. Building materials, furniture, upholstery and nail polish all contain small amounts of formaldehyde. Approximately one in five thousand people who live in modern homes for over ten years will develop cancer from formaldehyde exposure. Radon-222 is a natural radioactive gas that is found in most soil. It seeps up through the ground and can enter buildings through cracks and drains. When inhaled, radon-222 exposes lung tissue to radiation and can lead to lung cancer. Smokers are most at risk though, the national Academy of Science estimates that twelve percent of fatalities caused by lung cancer are due to radon-222 exposure. ...read more.


This was the worst case of which a prolonged exposure to smog has caused so many deaths in London but there were other similar cases. Two severe fogs on Glasgow in 1909 which caused an increase in deaths have been noted. This shows the dramatic and fatal effects that industrial smog can have on the mortality rate and the amount of non-fatal illnesses it can also cause. There are other contaminations found in the air in towns and cities besides industrial smog but they are more difficult to monitor. Conclusion A high level of air pollution damages human health as well as the entire atmosphere. Air pollution is a major environmental and public health hazard, especially for the developing world. The studies of air-pollution and the health risks are limited, there is not enough evidence to say how much of a threat outdoor and indoor pollution really is on the health of humans. The air quality of Britain has been improving throughout this century because of controls and law being enforced but is still not as good as it should be. There is still a lot of work to be done especially in the third world and co-ordinated international efforts are necessary to save the biosphere from further damage as the quality of the environment we live in is accountable for the quality of our lives. ...read more.

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