Chemistry project 2014

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Chemistry project 2014

Air Pollution

What is it?



Our reasoning

The causes of air pollution

Pollution of any kind is harmful to humans and other living objects. Pollution can be basically classified into three types namely, Air Pollution, Water pollution and Noise Pollution. However there are other types of pollution like the land pollution, thermal pollution and radioactive pollution. But these are the ones that directly the affect the health of the human beings, plants and animals . Breathing is the one and the only activity that all the living beings do right from birth to death. A man cannot live for more than 5 minutes without air. Hence, the air pollution has a bigger impact on the health of the living objects. Also, water and noise pollution have not yet reached the alarming state that the air pollution has reached.

1.Sulfur oxides (SOx)2.Nitrogen oxides (NOx) 3.Carbon monoxide (CO)4.Hg in gaseous form5.Ammonia (NH3)

Air pollution can result from both human and natural actions. Natural events that pollute the air include forest fires, volcanic eruptions, wind erosion, pollen dispersal, evaporation of organic compounds and natural radioactivity. Pollution from natural occurrences are not very often.

Harmful gases produced

Type of gases

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas. After being inhaled, CO molecules can enter the bloodstream, where they inhibit the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. Low concentrations can cause dizziness, headaches, and fatigue; high concentrations can be fatal. CO is produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gasoline, oil, and wood. It is also produced from incomplete combustion of natural and synthetic products, such as cigarette smoke. It can build up in high concentrations in enclosed areas such as garages, poorly ventilated tunnels, and even along roadsides in heavy traffic. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the principal greenhouse gas emitted as a result of human activity (e.g., burning of coal, oil, and natural gas). CO2 can cause burns, frostbite, and blindness if an area is exposed to it in solid or liquid form. If inhaled, it can be toxic in high concentrations, causing an increase in the breathing rate, unconsciousness, and death. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are chemicals used in great quantities in industry, for refrigeration and air conditioning, and in consumer products. CFCs, when released into the air, rise into the stratosphere (a layer of atmosphere high above the Earth). In the stratosphere, CFCs take part in chemical reactions that result in reduction of the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects the Earth's surface from the sun. Reducing the release of CFC emissions and eliminating the production and use of ozone-destroying chemicals is very important to the Earth's stratosphere. Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) are chemicals that cause serious health and environmental effects. Health effects include cancer, birth defects, nervous system problems, and death due to massive accidental releases, such as the disaster that occurred at a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. Hazardous air pollutants are released by sources such as chemical plants, dry cleaners, printing plants, and motor vehicles including cars, trucks, buses, planes. Lead is a highly toxic metal that produces a range of adverse health effects particularly in young children. Lead can cause nervous system damage and digestive problems, and some lead-containing chemicals cause cancer. Lead can also harm wildlife. Lead has been phased out of gasoline, which has considerably reduced the contamination of air by lead. However, lead can still be inhaled or ingested from other sources. The sources for lead include paint (for houses and cars), smelters, manufacture of lead batteries, fishing lures, certain parts of bullets, some ceramic ware, miniblinds, water pipes, and a few hair dye products. Ozone (O3 is a gas that is a variety of oxygen. Oxygen consists of two oxygen atoms; ozone consists of three. Ozone in the upper atmosphere, where it occurs naturally in what is known as the ozone layer, shields the Earth from the sun's dangerous ultraviolet rays. However, at ground level where it is a pollutant with highly toxic effects, ozone damages human health, the environment, crops, and a wide range of natural and artificial materials. Ground-level ozone can irritate the respiratory tract, cause chest pain, persistent cough, an inability to take a deep breath, and an increased susceptibility to lung infection. Ozone can damage trees and plants and reduce visibility. Ground-level ozone comes from the breakdown (oxidation) of volatile organic compounds found in solvents. It is also a product of reactions between chemicals that are produced by burning coal, gasoline, other fuels, and chemicals found in paints and hair sprays. Oxidation occurs readily during hot weather. Vehicles and industries are major sources of ground-level ozone. Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) is a major contributor to smog and acid rain. Nitrogen oxides react with volatile organic compounds to form smog. In high doses, smog can harm humans by causing breathing difficulty for asthmatics, coughs in children, and general illness of the respiratory system. Acid rain can harm vegetation and run into lakes and rivers which changes the chemistry of the water, and makes it potentially uninhabitable for all but acid-tolerant bacteria. Nitrogen oxides are produced from burning fuels, including gasoline and coal. (NOx) acid aerosols can reduce visibility. Particulate Matter is any type of solid in the air in the form of smoke, dust, and vapors, which can remain suspended for extended periods. Aside from reducing visibility and soiling clothing, microscopic particles in the air can be breathed into lung tissue becoming lodged and causing increased respiratory disease and lung damage. Particulates are also the main source of haze, which reduces visibility. Particulates are produced by many sources, including burning of diesel fuels by trucks and buses, fossil fuels, mixing and application of fertilizers and pesticides, road construction, industrial processes such as steel making, mining, agricultural burning, and operation of fireplaces and woodstoves. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is an odorless gas at low concentrations, but can have a very strong smell at high concentrations. SO2 is a gas produced by burning coal, most notably in power plants. Some industrial processes, such as production of paper and smelting of metals, produce sulfur dioxide. Like nitrogen oxides, SO2 is a major contributor to smog and acid rain. SO2 is closely related to sulfuric acid, a strong acid. It can harm vegetation and metals and can cause lung problems, including breathing problems and permanent damage to lungs. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals. All organic compounds contain carbon, and organic chemicals are the basic chemicals found in all living things and in all products derived from living things. Many organic compounds we use do not occur in nature, but were synthesized by chemists in laboratories. Volatile chemicals produce vapors easily. At room temperature vapors readily escape from volatile liquid chemicals. VOCs include gasoline, industrial chemicals such as benzene, solvents such as toluene and xylene, and perchloroethylene (principal dry cleaning solvent). VOCs are released from burning fuel, such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas and from solvents, paints, glues, and other products used at home or work. Vehicle emissions are an important source of VOCs. Many VOCs are hazardous air pollutants; for example, benzene causes cancer.

Short clip on air pollution

Air pollution chart


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