What is air pollution?
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Q:

What is air pollution?

A:

Quick Answer

Air pollution stems from the addition of unnatural compounds and toxins through indirect and direct mechanisms. Direct sources of air pollution include electricity, fuels and transportation, while indirect sources are goods and services that require energy to produce and deliver, such as vehicles and household appliances.

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Full Answer

Goods and services for the majority of air pollution, followed by home heating oil and other residential fuels. Electricity, on a residential and commercial scale, contributes the third-largest volume of air pollution, while transportation contributes the least. Common air pollutants include nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. Lead and mercury also account for some air pollution, but are primarily associated with water contamination. These toxins are synthetic chemicals and compounds, which means that they do not biodegrade when released into the surrounding air. They cause environmental, health and aesthetic disturbances, and occur primarily in vapor or liquid form. Nitrogen oxides are among the biggest contributors to air pollution; these compounds come from the burning of gasoline, coal, oil and natural gas. Emissions from car and truck exhaust systems are primary sources of nitrogen oxides, which may cause respiratory illness and lung damage to humans. Carbon monoxide is another leading source of air pollution; like nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide poses human health risks and contributes to acid rain.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why is air pollution bad?

    A:

    Air pollution has several harmful effects on both the environment and human health. A common example of the negative effects of air pollution on the environment is in the form of acid rain. Many upper respiratory diseases such as asthma are exacerbated by air pollution.

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  • Q:

    How does air pollution affect humans?

    A:

    Air pollution can cause a variety of illnesses in humans, including asthma, lung cancer, heart disease and even reproductive and developmental disorders. It can also compromise the immune system by overworking the respiratory system and the body's natural defenses. Air pollution also contributes to global warming, increasing worldwide temperatures, raising sea levels and damaging agricultural yields.

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  • Q:

    How does air pollution affect animals?

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    Air pollution harms animals as a result of direct exposure to contaminants and destruction of their habitats, food and water sources. For instance, acid rain, which forms when pollutants in the atmosphere combine with precipitation, causes aluminum to leach out of the soil, poisoning and often killing fish.

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  • Q:

    What is the government doing about air pollution?

    A:

    As of 2014, the U.S. government has an organization called the Environmental Protection Agency that regulates greenhouse gas emissions on automobiles, partners with private businesses to reduce industry emissions and reduces the agency's emissions. The government also partners with other countries and makes commitments to reduce air pollution worldwide.

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