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What's in the Air We Breathe?

WHAT'S IN THE AIR WE BREATHE? Air Composition and Pollutants Breathing is something we do subconsciously, so we aren't always thinking about it – but that doesn't give you a pass to ignore issues of air quality! Knowing what's in the air you breathe is almost as essential as knowing what's in the food you eat or the water you drink. Did you know that around 7 million premature deaths can be attributed to air pollution worldwide? Poor air quality has also been linked to increases in mortality rates from cardiovascular disease, cystic fibrosis, lung disease, and cancer. We've compiled some essential and fun facts about the different flavors of air quality - inside, outside, from country to country – to teach you what you need to know to stay safe and healthy in the air we breathe. THE AIR WE INHALE THE AIR WE EXHALE 0.96% Argon and other Noble Gases 1% Argon and other 4% - 5.3% Carbon Noble Gases Dioxide 78.04% Nitrogen 78.04% Nitrogen 21% Oxygen 13.6% - 16% Oxygen POLLUTANT POLLUTANT POLLUTANT Ozone Carbon Monoxide Lead SOURCE SOURCE SOURCE Oxygen 02 Released when engines The burning of leaded (usually cars) burn fossil fuels. When an engine is improperly tuned or is damaged, it tends to emit extra Pb 82 Formed when nitrogen oxides (which come from burning fossil fuels like gasoline and coal) and volatile organic compounds mix in sunlight. It's a gasoline released lead into the air, This is why all fuel Ozone 03 must now be unleaded. However, airborne lead still originates from industrial sources, lead paints, and old pipes. major smog when found in the lower atmosphere. Long term exposure to high levels of ozone can be dangerous to breathe. component of carbon monoxide (CO). EFFECT EFFECT EFFECT CO makes it difficult for parts of the body to get enough oxygen - that's why overexposure to it can give you a headache and/or make you feel dizzy or tired. I Lead in the air causes lower IQs and kidney problems in young children.. I Increases frequency of asthma attacks. I Causes sore throats, coughs, difficulty breathing, and even premature death. ... and heart attacks or strokes in adults. i Fatal in high concentrations, it can exacerbate heart disease. I Damages plants and farm crops. POLLUTANT POLLUTANT Particulate matter Arsenic SOURCE SOURCE Commercial and industrial This is a fancy name for "tiny particles in the air." There are two types: coarse (think dust from roads or construction, or sea spray) and fine (invisible particles released from burning fuels in cars or power plants). activities release inorganic Arsenic - which is the dangerous kind. Sometimes it's found in drinking water or soil. Some wood is treated with arsenic, and can be absorbed by the body when you touch or burn it. EFFECT EFFECT I If it's small enough, particulate matter enters the lungs where it shreds and damages tissue, exacerbating asthma and inducing respiratory diseases like tuberculosis. I Persistent oral exposure in doses of 600 micrograms per kg of body weight per day is fatal. I In lesser doses it damages the nervous, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems, and also is strongly associated with lung cancer. POLLUTANT POLLUTANT Asbestos Benzene SOURCE SOURCE Clutches and brakes on cars or deteriorating building materials like insulation Tobacco smoke, gas stations, and motor vehicle exhaust are all are common sources of common sources exposure to asbestos, It can also be released into ground water through these sources, or from natural mineral deposits. of benzene exposure. Benzene is used to make glues, plastics, nylons, furniture wax, and paints. EFFECT EFFECT I Long-term exposure can cause asbestosis, a progressive disease that slowly suffocates a person. I Benzene interferes with a cell's ability to work correctly. It can reduce the number of red blood cells produced by a person's bone marrow, which can cause anemia. Inhaled asbestos is strongly linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma as well. 1On the white blood cell side of things, benzene can damage the immune system by killing white blood cells and antibodies. IWhen asbestos is consumed in drinking water, it can cause cancer in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. POLLUTANT POLLUTANT Methane Sulfur Dioxide SOURCE SOURCE In an airless environment, methane is plentiful where plant or animal matter is decomposing. The largest source of sulfur dioxide comes from fossil fuel combustion Landfills, marshes, and mines are common emissions, mostly at power plants and other industrial facilities. sources of methane. EFFECT EFFECT IAt high enough levels, methane can lead to suffocation. I Short term exposure, which is anywhere from five minutes I It's also explosive at concentrations of 5% or higher. to 24 hours, can exacerbate asthma symptoms and cause other respiratory damage. IVarious oxides of sulfur, not just the dioxide, can react with other compounds in the air to create super-penetrative particles that dig deep into the lungs and Indoor Air Quality other sensitive parts of the body to worsen respiratory and heart diseases. Cigarette smoke Cigarette smoke releases cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol, acetylene, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide in the air, all of which are dangerous. Air filters and purifiers can remove harmful toxins and particles from the air, reducing the risk that they'll cause health problems for you and your family. Air filters Asbestos lurks in insulation within walls. When damaged, it can spread into the air. Other toxins like formaldehyde or arsenic are released from treated or pressed woods. Benzene is commonly used in paints, glues, and furniture waxes. Asbestos Gas Maladjusted gas stoves can release stove more carbon monoxide into the air than you might expect. The same is true of some space heaters and furnaces. Paint fumes make you dizzy, and they have an odor for a reason. Paints Old paint chips, if they're lead paint, are a source of nasty toxins. Fresh, modern paint emits Air vent what are known as "volatile organic compounds," some of which cause cancer of the liver or kidney. Without proper ventilation, natural and unnatural pollutants can build within a home to truly toxic levels. You don't want to live in a bubble! Always wear a mask while painting! The Best and Worst Air in the World Many health organizations, like the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), like to measure air pollution by the concentration of two types of particulate matter (PM). The first type, fine PM or PM2.5, is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, meaning it can only be seen by an electron microscope. The second, coarse PM or PM10, is between 2.5 and 10 micrometers in diameter. When you think of PM10, think of the particles in a cloud of dust. Concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 are measured in micrograms per cubic meter of air (or ug/m3) The 10 cities in the world with the best air quality The 10 cities in the world with the worst air pollution O Calgary, Canada 2 Honolulu, USA 3 Helsinki, Finland O Ottawa, Canada 6 Minneapolis, USA 6 Oslo, Norway O Stockholm, Sweden 8 Zurich, Switzerland Katsuyama, Japan 10 Bern, Switzerland O Delhi, India 2 Patna, India 3 Gwalior, India O Raipur, India 6 Karachi, Pakistan 6 Peshwar, Pakistan O Rawalpindi, Pakistan O Khoramabad, Iran 9 Ahmedabad, India 10 Lucknow, India The 10 cities in America with the worst year-round particle pollution The 10 cities in America with the best air quality Year 2014 Year 2014 10 O Cheyenne, Wyoming 2 Santa Fe, New Mexico 3 st. George, Utah 4 Prescott, Arizona 6 Farmington, New Mexico 6 Pocatello, Idaho 7 Redding, California 8 Tucson, Arizona 9 Albuquerque, New Mexico 10 Rapid City, South Dakota Fresno, CA e Visalia, CA 3 Los Angeles, CA 4 Bakersfield, CA 6 Modesto, CA 6 Pittsburgh, PA O EI Centro, CA 8 Phoenix, AZ 9 St. Louis, MS 10 El Paso, TX Inside the Earth Plenty of naturally occurring minerals within the Earth can be hazardous to human health when spread through the air. Among them are arsenic, lead, mercury, and radioactive elements like radon. There are also gases like carbon monox- ide and methane. However, you can breathe easy in many natural caverns around the world. They're often connected to the surface via multiple entrances, which improves air circulation. In tropical climates, carbon dioxide rich pockets can form depending on certain biological processes that might be occurring nearby. Ammonia gases can be found where bat guano or where other dung is decaying. Fungi that grow in caves can produce spores which taint the air. Near lava flows or sulfur deposits, concentrations of oxygen might be very low indeed. In mining operations, though, the break- ing up of rocks and minerals releases harmful gases and dust, air circulation is slow, and me- chanical devices contribute to air pollution. Mines can be much more dangerous than any natural caverns, depending on what is being mined and how careful the miners are when artificially circulating the air. .And Beyond Mercury Mercury's proximity to the sun has a side effect – its atmosphere has been Venus completely destroyed by the heat. What we can detect in the air and near the surface of the planet are small • traces of: Vênus' incredibly dense atmosphere is famous for the greenhouse effect it creates. Helium Sodium Potassium Oxygen "Moon 96.5% 3.5% Carbon • Traces of sulfur dioxide, Nitrogen For a long time, it was thought that dioxide the Moon had no atmosphere and was argon, and water vapor surrounded by a vacuum. Now, it's believed Mars that the Moon has an atmosphere that is only slightly thicker than Mercury's. For example, at sea level on Earth every Mars has a very thin atmosphere, cubic centimeter of air contains but its composition is similar 1019 molecules while a cubic centimeter to that of Venus. on the Moon only contains 106 molecules. 1,9% 95% Nitrogen 1,9% Carbon Traces of dioxide oxygen and Argon carbon monoxide Saturn Saturn is famous for its rings, but not as much for its atmosphere. Saturn's troposphere has a haze of ammonia which causes its storms and banding patterns to be Jupiter less visible than those of Jupiter. Its winds, however, are among the fastest in Jupiter boasts the largest planetary atmosphere in the entire Solar System. As a gas the Solar System and have been clocked at 1800 km/h by Voyager. giant, the atmosphere doesn't have a lower boundary like the inner, rocky planets do - gases transition gradually to the planet's 93.2% 6.7% liquid interior. 76% 24% Hydrogen Helium EXTERIOR ATMOSPHERE Hydrogen Helium Uranus Gas and ice make up the atmosphere of Uranus. Unlike the other gas giants, it's thought that the core of Uranus has no internal energy generation mechanism. This makes it a "peaceful" sort of planet with fewer storms than Saturn or Jupiter. Neptune 83% 15% 2% Hydrogen Helium Methane Neptune's atmosphere is similar in composition to Uranus, but it's much stormier. As one goes deeper and deeper through the atmosphere, the temperature is thought to rise steadily and methane clouds sit in abundance. Neptune's winds are faster even than Saturn's, and stormy. breezes can travel as fast as the speed of sound in its atmosphere. Outer Space 19% 80% 1.5% Space is a vacuum, which means that there is an almost total absence of gas molecules. Since that Hydrogen Helium Methane includes oxygen, this explains why we can't breathe in space. Just because there is no "air" in outer space, though, doesn't mean that there's literally nothing there. It's just that there's so little, it might as well be nothing. Sources: and-health JAirOasis iquid inner core

What's in the Air We Breathe?

shared by LivinLevin on Apr 02
We spend our whole lives breathing and not thinking about it - how much time do you spend thinking about what you're actually breathing in? It's not just oxygen! There are lots of other gasses, partic...



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