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Chapter Overview

Air Quality Basics Excerpts from EPA’s Air Quality Management Course Developed by EPA OAQPS and OIA Provided by Lourdes Morales, EPA. Chapter Overview. Early History of Air Pollution Problems Hazardous Effects of Air Pollutants Human Body Environmental Effects

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Chapter Overview

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  1. Air Quality BasicsExcerpts from EPA’s Air Quality Management CourseDeveloped by EPA OAQPS and OIAProvided by Lourdes Morales, EPA

  2. Chapter Overview • Early History of Air Pollution Problems • Hazardous Effects of Air Pollutants • Human Body • Environmental Effects • Overview of Air Quality Management System • Strategic Planning Session Involving South Africa’s Developing Air Quality Management Program

  3. Early History of Air Pollution

  4. Air Pollution Episodes • 1930, Muese River Valley, Belgium - 63 deaths • 1948, Donora, Pennsylvania - 23 deaths, 7,000 people affected • 1950, Poza Rica, Mexico - 22 deaths, 320 hospitalized • 1952, London - 4,000 deaths • 1953, New York City - 200 deaths • 1962, London – 700 deaths • 1984, Bhopal, India - 4,000 immediate deaths, 15,000 deaths later

  5. Air Pollution Episode: London Fog (1952)

  6. Why Focus on Air Quality? • Air pollution causes human health effects • Major air pollution episodes • Relationship between exposure and health effects • Environmental activists • Rachel Carson • Environmental Organizations • Human health care and economy • Increased lifespan in US (from 40 to 75 years) • Understanding of a connection of long term exposures, and dangers to children’s health. • It’s not the economy OR the environment, we can have both

  7. Hazardous Effects of Air Pollutants • Air Pollutant Entry into the Human Body • Health Effects of Criteria Pollutants • Health Effects of Toxic Air Pollutants • Health Effects on Children • Environmental Effects of Air Pollution

  8. Air Pollutants Enter the Body through: • Breathing, exposing the nose, throat, and lungs, • Ingestion: air pollutants can deposit on food or vegetation that will be eaten by humans or livestock, or • Absorption through the skin.

  9. Pollutants in the Respiratory System • Pollutants are inhaled through the nose or mouth • Defenses • Cilia • Phagocyte cells • Soluble toxins may enter the bloodstream

  10. Effects of Air Pollutants • Effects can include: • Decreased respiratory efficiency, diminished pulmonary circulation, enlargement and weakening of the heart and blood vessels, skin and eye irritation, inflammation, and allergic reaction. • Impedance of the lung’s ability to absorb oxygen from the air and remove harmful carbon dioxide from the bloodstream. • Long-term health effects can include: • lung cancer, pulmonary emphysema, bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory infections.

  11. US EPA Air Pollutants • Major Air Pollutants (known as “Criteria” Pollutants) • Particulate Matter (PM) • Lead (Pb) • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) • Carbon Monoxide (CO) • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) • Ozone (O3) • Toxic Air Pollutants • Not criteria pollutants • 188 substances defined as hazardous air pollutants

  12. Health Effects of Criteria Pollutants

  13. Health Effects of Toxic Air Pollutants • Toxic or hazardous air pollutants cause or may cause: • cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive disorders or birth defects • adverse environmental and ecological effects. • Examples of toxic air pollutants include: • benzene, found in gasoline • perchloroethylene, emitted from some dry cleaning facilities • methylene chloride, used as a solvent by a number of industries • Originate from: • man-made sources • natural sources such as volcanic eruptions and forest fires

  14. Environmental Effects of Air Pollution • Acid Rain • SOx and NOx react in the atmosphere to form acids • Acid rain falls on the soil and water bodies making the water unsuitable for fish and other wildlife • Speeds the decay of buildings, statues and sculptures. • The Greenhouse Effect • Ozone, methane, CO2, and other gases may contribute to global warming

  15. Environmental Effects of Air Pollution (cont.) • Stratospheric Ozone Depletion • Certain substances deplete the amount of ozone in the stratosphere, increasing the amount of UV-b radiation • Mercury • Mercury in the air can settle into water bodies where it can change it into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish. • Agriculture Impacts • Crop yields

  16. Transport of Air Pollution • Air pollution crosses many boundaries • Ozone, particulates and persistent pollutants • Causes episodic problems • Increases background • Requires Regional and Intergovernmental cooperation

  17. Major Pollutants Carbon Monoxide (CO) Ozone (O3) Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) Particulate Matter Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Lead (Pb) Hazardous Air Pollutants Benzene Perchlorethylene Methylene Chloride Dioxin Asbestos Toluene Cadmium Mercury Chromium Many others Pollutants in the Ambient Air

  18. What Causes Air Pollution? • Processes of nature that produce pollutants are classified as biogenic sources. • Man’s activities that produce air pollutants are classified as anthropogenic sources.

  19. Biogenic (Naturally Occurring) Sources of Air Pollutants

  20. Anthropogenic (Man-Made) Sources • Mobile • Stationary • Point • Area

  21. Mobile Sources

  22. Onroad Mobile Sources • Vehicles used on roads for transportation of passengers or freight, including: • light-duty vehicles (passenger cars), • heavy-duty vehicles, and • motorcycles. • Typically fueled with: • gasoline, • diesel fuel, or • alternative fuels, such as alcohol or natural gas.

  23. Nonroad Vehicles and Equipment Emissions • Nonroad (also called off-road) includes: • Outdoor power equipment • Recreational vehicles • Farm and construction machinery • Lawn and garden equipment • Marine vessels • Locomotives

  24. U.S. Nonroad Engine Emissions

  25. Diesel Engines • Diesel engines power many trucks, buses, trains, ships, and off-road machinery. • Diesel exhaust is a mixture containing over 450 different components, including vapors and fine particles. • For the same load and engine conditions, diesel engines spew out 100 times more particulates than gasoline engines.

  26. Air Pollutants From Stationary Sources Air pollutants from stationary sources are produced by activities such as: • Combustion of fuel such as coal and oil at power generating facilities; and • Industrial processes that release pollutants into the air

  27. Air Pollutants From Stationary Sources (cont’d) Stationary sources are classified as: • Point Source • Fixed point such as a smokestack or storage tank. • Area Source • Series of small sources that individually release small amounts of a given pollutant, but collectively can release significant amounts of a pollutant.

  28. Fugitive Sources Fugitive emissions are emissions which could not reasonably pass through a stack, chimney, vent, or other functionally-equivalent opening. Examples include: • Open land masses • Chemical storage piles • Open vats and chemical containers • Road-side dust • Agriculture and farming • Natural emissions

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