Document 14140660

The contamination of the earth’s
atmosphere by harmful substances
Numerous studies have linked it to
a wide variety of health problems,
including lung disease,
cardiovascular disease, and
 In the US, the EPA (under the Clean
Air Act) sets air quality standards to
prevent and correct problems
related to environmental air
Ozone – highly reactive gas composed of
three oxygen atoms. It is both a natural and a
man-made product that occurs in the Earth’s
upper atmosphere and the lower
 Upper atmosphere – 6-30 miles above the
Earth’s surface; reduces the amount of harmful
UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface
 Lower atmosphere (ground level) – is what we
breathe; smog or haze (irritates lungs)
2. Particulate matter (PM) – small
particles found in the air, such as
dust, soil, soot, smoke, mold, and
droplets of liquid
3. Carbon monoxide – colorless,
odorless gas that forms when carbon
in fuel is not burned completely;
outdoor sources include automobile
exhaust and industrial processes;
can cause sudden illness or death
4. Sulfur dioxide – comes chiefly from
power plants, especially those that
burn coal; can combine with water
to form acid rain
5. Nitrogen oxides – highly reactive gases that
form when fuel is burned at high
temperatures, as in motor vehicles and
power plants
6. Lead – metal found naturally in the
environment (air, soil, water, and even inside
homes); lead exposure can cause health
An index for reporting daily air quality
Created by the EPA
You can use the AQI to help you avoid
unhealthy exposure to air pollution
› Occurs when a layer of warm air forms
above a layer of cool air
› Air cannot circulate and pollutants are
trapped in cooler layer
› Respiratory illnesses, such as Emphysema
is most aggravated by temperature
Trapping of heat by gases in the earth’s
 The gases allow sunlight to enter our
atmosphere but block heat from
 Without the greenhouse effect the planet
would be too cold to support life
 The main greenhouse gas we produce is
carbon dioxide (burning of fossil fuels in
power plants & motor vehicles)
Human activities have released
large amounts of carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse
gases into the atmosphere
 Greenhouse gases come from
burning fossil fuels to produce
 Greenhouse gases act like a
blanket around Earth, trapping
energy in the atmosphere and
causing it to warm
= global warming
Replace light fixtures or light bulbs in
them with ENERGY STAR qualified
products (save approx. $70 a year on
energy bills)
 Look for ENERGY STAR products
 Heat and cool smartly (change air filters,
use programmable thermostats)
 Seal and insulate homes
 Reduce, reuse, recycle
Use water efficiently (turn off water while
brushing teeth, fix leaky faucets)
 Be green in your yard
 Purchase green power
 Spread the word!
Earth’s average temperature has risen
1.4 degree F over the past century
 Small changes in the average
temperature of the planet can cause
large and potentially dangerous shifts in
climate and weather
 What are examples of
major weather events?
Research has found that in many cases,
the air inside buildings contains more
pollutants than the outdoor air, even in
the biggest cities
 Common sources of indoor pollution;
 Household chemicals
 Cleaning fluids
 Pesticides
 Chemicals used in building and
furnishing materials
Carbon monoxide – produced by fuelburning equipment, such as stoves,
furnaces, and fireplaces
 Asbestos – mineral fiber that was used in
the past as insulation (can lead to lung
 Radon – an odorless, radioactive gas
produced during the natural breakdown of
the element uranium in soil and rocks (can
cause lung cancer)
 Fluorocarbons – found in aerosol sprays that
cause damage to the ozone layer
Identify sources of pollution
 Home test kits and detectors can help
you measure levels of radon and carbon
 Increase the ventilation in your home