Effects Of Air Pollution On Human Health

Air pollution is one of the major concern of the new civilized world, which has a serious impact on the environment and on human health. Due to the increase of combustion of fossil fuels, air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone (O3), particulate matters, heavy metals, are increasing in the atmosphere of the Earth. These air pollutants can have chronic effects on human health, affecting different organs and systems of the human body such as respiratory system, circulatory system, etc. causing serious health problems like lung cancer, heart diseases, respiratory infections, chronic bronchitis, asthma, etc. Some effects of air pollution on human health are discussed below.

 

  • Particulate matters (PM)

Particulate matters cause more health problems than any other air pollutant. Some components of particulate matters are lead, nitrates, sulfates, sodium chloride, ammonia, mineral dust, black carbon, and water. The particulate matters when breathed in damages the lungs and causes various respiratory problems.

 

  • Carbon monoxide (CO)

It is produced from the partial oxidation of carbon-containing compound. Combustion engines in vehicles, power generation plants, open burning, etc. are the major sources of carbon monoxide. It has very harmful effects on human health. When the gas enters the human body through the lungs, it combines with the hemoglobin and lessens the amount of oxygen in the blood. Carbon monoxide affects the brain and can slow reflexes and impair concentration power.

 

  • Ozone (O3)

The ozone is one of the major components of photochemical smog. Excessive ozone in the atmosphere can lead to breathing problems, reduce lung function, trigger asthma, and can cause lungs diseases. Too much exposure to ozone can also make our eyes burn and itch.

 

  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2)

According to researchers, people suffering from asthma experience change in respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function after exposure to SO2 for a short period of time. Sulfur dioxide can affect the function of the lungs, the respiratory system and can cause irritation in the eyes. It can cause inflammation of the respiratory tract which causes mucus secretion, coughing, chronic bronchitis and asthma. It also makes people more vulnerable to respiratory tracts infections.

 

  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)

It is a mixture of gases which are composed of nitrogen and oxygen. Increased level of nitrogen oxides can lead to breathing problems, respiratory tract problems.  Nitrogen dioxide inflames the lining of the lungs and can reduce immunity to different lung infections.

 

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