Diseases & Conditions : Environmental Medicine
What is air pollution?
Air pollution is the presence of noxious substances in the air that we breathe. National agencies and organizations report the following:
Over 100 million tons of pollution from industrial operations are emitted into the atmosphere in the U.S. each year. Examples of such pollutants include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which contribute to acid rain. Other examples include carbon monoxide and mercury. (EPA).
According to the 2013 State of the Air report, although improved from a decade ago, more than 130 million Americans live in areas of unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution. (American Lung Association)
The health effects of air pollution are many. Air pollution levels are associated with increased respiratory health problems. This includes asthma. Healthy People 2020 identifies 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. According to this organization, air pollution is linked to premature death, cancer, and long-term damage to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Preventing air pollution is a major project of public health and environmental agencies.