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The effect of Air Pollution on human health

Constanza Olguin Vargas

University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus

EAP 104 Section 2

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What are the effects of air pollution on the human population?

The world is getting destroyed every day by human activity. It is being damaged by

toxic pollutants released by cars and burning of fossil fuels. Because of toxic pollutants

such as methane and carbon dioxide released by these activities, human health is being

affected. These contaminants affect the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, and

pregnancies in the human population producing a variety of diseases.

First of all, air pollution is affecting the respiratory system of the human population.

Toxic pollutants attach to the airways in the respiratory system producing symptoms such

as nose and throat irritation. According to Kampa and Castanas (2008), "chronic exposure

to toxic pollutants reduces lung function generating asthma, emphysema and even lung

cancer." Not only harmful pollutants are attaching to the airways and producing an adverse

effect on humans’ health, but it is also affecting the body’s ability to transport oxygen

through the blood.

The cardiovascular system and its ability to transport oxygen to the whole body is

being reduced. Toxic pollutants such as carbon monoxide and heavy metals are binding to

hemoglobin reducing its capacity to transfer oxygen making this the second effect of air

pollution. This reduced amount of oxygen in the blood can lead to blood clotting and

obstruction of blood vessels and finally leading to diseases such as anemia and high blood

pressure. Most of this diseases are present in adults, but it is also being transmitted to

children as well as the toxic pollutants from the environment.

The third effect of toxic pollutants is on the development of the fetus. Children

genetically come with more predisposition to certain respiratory and cardiovascular

complications because their parents were affected by air pollution, but not only is
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increasing the predisposition of these diseases is also making pregnancies more

complicated. Because the mothers of these children are being exposed to high levels of

toxic pollutants such as heavy metals and lead, there is a higher risk of spontaneous

abortion and malformations in the fetus leading to more complications in pregnancies.

In brief, air pollution can lead to complications in the respiratory system,

cardiovascular system, and pregnancies. Due to the increasing awareness of this health

issues, people and governments are trying to make a change in their ways of living.

Companies are creating cars that do not use the combustion of fossil fuels, and people are

opting for public transportation, so there is a decrease in the number of vehicles used. Also,

governments are changing rules and encouraging less damaging ways of creating power.

These replacements can diminish the negative impacts of fossil fuels on the environment

and by doing these decreasing health risks and extending the life expectancy of humans.
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Kampa, M., & Castanas, E. (2008). Human health effects of air pollution, In Environmental

Pollution (Vol. 151). Heraklion, Greece: Elsevier.