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6 AIR . “I thought I saw a Blue Jay this morning. But the smog was so bad that it turned out to be a Cardinal holding its breath.” Michael J. Cohen, Poli-sci prof. Israel. Define Air Pollution. Air pollution is defined as harmful substances that end up in the air at unhealthy levels.

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6 air


“I thought I saw a Blue Jay this morning. But the smog was so bad that it turned out to be a Cardinal holding its breath.”

Michael J. Cohen, Poli-sci prof. Israel

define air pollution

Define Air Pollution

Air pollution is defined as harmful substances that end up in the air at unhealthy levels.

primary air pollutant

Primary Air Pollutant

is one that is put directly into the air by human activity.

secondary air pollution
Secondary Air Pollution
  • occurs when two or more primary pollutants combine or react together.
  • This may include naturally occurring substances such as water vapor.
  • 33% of our air pollution comes from vehicles.
2000 american vehicles traveled 2 7 trillion miles
2000 American Vehicles traveled 2.7 trillion miles.
  • 70% was family vehicles

(1.8 Trillion Mi)

  • 30% commercial transportation.

(.9 Trillion Miles)

  • Contains Vinyl Chloride which is volatile.
  • 2.2 lbs of CFC’s released when air conditioning is installed.
  • Approx 1lb released when refilled.
body and frame body
Body and FrameBody
  • Steel smelters send of tons of sulfur dioxide into the air each year.
  • Many factories in Mexico, Eastern Europe, and Asia lack pollution control measures.
fuel tank
Fuel Tank
  • Gas fumes escape into the air while pumping gas.
  • Leaking fuel tanks onto roadways.
    • Water pollution (NP)
    • Vapors escape into the atmosphere
  • Major source of Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, and hydrocarbons.
  • Each car releases approx. 5 tons of CO2 per year.

If one person would carpool with one other person there would be 33 million pounds less CO2 each year.

catalytic converters
Catalytic Converters

Contain rare metals that convert CO, NO, and HC into less harmful H2O, CO2 & trace N2.

Gas + Burn  CO + HC + NO

Gas + Burn  CO + HC + NO <CC>  CO2 + H2O + Traces

  • Over 4 million cars in Brazil run on ethanol
  • What is ethanol?
  • It is fermented corn mash.
  • Can also be made from remnants of sugar cane plants. (do not need the entire plant)
ethanol combustion
Ethanol Combustion
  • Ethanol + Burn --> H2O+CO2
  • Autos can run without any conversions
  • Why don’t we convert to ethanol?
  • Name ten things that we use electric for.
  • What is electricity?
electric power plants
Electric Power Plants
  • Electric power plants are responsible for the production of many pollutants.
  • 2/3 of all SO2
  • 1/3 of NOx
  • 1/3 of all particulate matter that pollute the air
  • Other products such as electronic equipment use solvents to clean and vapors escape into the air.
scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators
Scrubbers and Electrostatic Precipitators
  • These are devises used to reduce the amount of pollutants released from “smoke stacks.”
  • These are very expensive devises.
  • Mostly used in developed countries with very stringent regulations.
thermal inversions
Thermal Inversions
  • Increase the effects of air pollution by trapping the pollutants close to the surface.
  • This usually occurs if the city is in a valley such a LA.
  • Smog is the combination of smoke and fog.
  • It is a dense haze that traps pollution close to the Earth’s surface.
  • Mexico City, LA and other cities have cancelled school and posted warnings to stay indoors.
  • Sunlight is a driving force behind this problem.
ozone warnings
Ozone Warnings
  • Ground level pollution that develops as a result of UV light reacting with pollutants trapped close to the ground.
  • This is increased when there is a lot of sunshine and few clouds.
ozone layer
Ozone layer
  • Located in the stratosphere far above the earth’s surface.
  • Primary function is to filter UVB light from penetrating to the Earth’s surface.
  • UVB causes many problems w/ life as we know it.
human disease
Human Disease
  • Very often a person dies from a disease that could be attributed to air pollution
  • The cause is listed as the disease
    • emphysema
    • cancer
    • asthma
  • Could be listed as cause (ie asbestos or radon exposure)
sick building syndrome
  • Primarily caused by poor indoor air quality
  • Examples include: Dust, Radon, VOCs, CO CO2, asbestos and pathogens.
radon gas
Radon Gas
  • invisible, tasteless, odorless and radioactive
  • Produced by the radioactive decay of uranium which is natural
  • Found in soils that are on top of rocks that contain uranium
  • Radon element adheres to dust particles and enters the lung
  • Radioactive bombardment causes tissue damage and genetic material destruction
  • A fiber that contains several types of material
  • Mostly made of silica fibers.
  • Valued for its strength and heat resistance.
  • Was used to make breaks for autos, floor tile, home siding, and garments to protect from fire.
  • Fiber will get into lung and cut and scar tissue making it very hard to breath.
  • Eventually most patients of asbestosis die of heart failure
three types of acid rain
Three Types of Acid Rain
  • Carbonic Acid
  • CO2 + H2O  H2CO3
  • Nitric Acid
  • NO2 + HO  HNO3
  • Sulfuric Acid
  • SO2 + H2O + O  H2SO4
acid shock
Acid Shock
  • pH range of tolerance is exceeded causing damage to the ecosystem
  • poor production of fertile eggs
  • if reproduction occurs they are usually defective
  • plant or animal cannot reproduce
international issues
International Issues
  • Some countries are polluting the air and the acid rain falls on another.
  • This is a source of international conflict.
  • Diplomatic negotiations are crucial to reduce the conflict.
monitoring of acid shock
Monitoring of Acid Shock
  • Localities often tests and neutralize the acidic ecosystem.
  • How do you think they could do this?
examples of acid shocked regions
Examples of Acid Shocked Regions:
  • Ruhr Valley in Germany. Rain patterns move north to Scandinavian Countries.
  • Adirondack Mountain Area has lost nearly all the fish
  • Industrialized North in America pollutes Canada
  • Karkonoski National Park in Poland.
  • Helsinki Declaration 1985
  • Cut sulfur emissions by 30% over ten yrs.
  • (USA did not sign)
  • Why would we not sign this?
  • UN Sophia Protocol NOx reduction 1989.
  • USA signed this one.
  • 1990 & 1997 USA strengthened its own clean air laws
  • 2002 Congress voted to reduce regulations of Clean Air Act of 1990.
  • This permitted cheaper electric production