Air Pollution

With the great concern surrounding the destruction of the earth’s atmosphere due to air pollution, the immediate and direct harm caused to the human body is often over shadowed. While many are aware that our careless use of hazardous chemicals and fossil fuels may leave the planet uninhabitable in the future, most over look the fact that they are also cause real damage to our bodies at this moment. Such pollutants cause damage to our respiratory system, leading to the fluctuation of the life span of an individual depending on a number of conditions. Amongst these conditions are the individuals specific geographic location, age, and life style. The pollutants that harm our respiratory system are known as particulates. Particulates are the small solid particles that you can see through a ray of sunlight. They are products of incomplete combustion in engines (example: automobile engines), road dust, and wood smoke. Billions of tons of coal and oil are consumed around the world every year. When these fuels burn they produce smoke and other by-products into the atmosphere. Although wind and rain occasionally wash away the smoke given off by power plants and automobiles, much still remains. Particulate matter (soot, ash, and other solids), usually consist of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, various nitrogen oxides, ozone, and lead. These compounds undergo a series of chemical reactions in the presence of sunlight, the result is smog (a term used to describe a noxious mixture of fog and smoke)The damage begins when the particulates are inhaled into the small air sacs of our lungs called alveoli. With densities such as 100,000 per milliliter a single alveolus may receive 1,500 particulates per day. These particulates cause the inflammation of the alveoli. The inflammation causes the body to produce agents in the blood that in crease clotting ability, which leads to the decreased functionality of the cardiovascular system, resulting in diseases and.