If you live in an urban area, you have most likely experienced a smog filled day or an inversion. It’s not a surprise, due to the fact that much of the pollution is caused by vehicle emissions and industrial factory byproducts. Interestingly enough, studies show that living in a metropolitan area can actually reduce your life span by 2 to 3 years. It is important to understand what the major pollutants are, and what people can do to decrease the damage that they cause.
The Environmental Protection Agency is required by the Clean Air Act to set quality standards for six of the most common and harmful air pollutants. These air pollutants pose a particular threat to the environment, as well as people’s over-all health. Since they have the potential to cause bodily damage, the EPA sets permissible levels for these air contaminates, and checks them on a regular basis. Known as criteria air pollutants, the six most common pollutants include ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter.
Greenhouse gases are another form of hazardous air pollution. These gases have led to the occurrence of global warming, which is responsible for a shift in the Earth’s ecosystem. People are trying to reduce their “carbon footprint”, or amount of carbon dioxide they leave behind. They are doing this by recycling, driving their vehicles less often, and conserving. The government is also taking this issue seriously by increasing the tax on gas, so that people will conserve their gas usage.