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Introduction .................... 2
Indoor & Outdoor Air Pollution ................................................ 2 What is Air Pollution?............................................................... 4 Outdoor Air Pollution ............................................................... 6 Indoor Air Pollution .................................................................. 9 How can air pollution hurt my health?................................... 10 How can we prevent the damaging effects of air pollution? . 12 Why study black carbon pollution? ........................................ 15 Taking black carbon measurement to Eastern Europe........... 16
The goals of the research are to find solutions and to educate the public about the problem.Introduction Indoor & Outdoor Air Pollution When people think about air pollution. and other forms of outdoor air pollution. A great deal of research on pollution is being conducted at laboratories and universities. and every year. Two places where this type of work is being done are LBNL and the University of California. they usually think about smog. CFC's. the health of many people is affected by chemical substances present in the air within buildings. Berkeley. acid rain. But did you know that air pollution also can exist inside homes and other buildings? It can. 2 .
3 . the effects that they have on people. and what is being (or not being) done to correct the problem.Let's take a closer look at the various types of air pollution.
There are several main types of pollution and well-known effects of pollution which are commonly discussed. some of which can cause problems for humans. the greenhouse effect.9% nitrogen. oxygen.What is Air Pollution? Air is the ocean we breathe. plants. and "holes" in the ozone layer. acid rain. Air supplies us with oxygen which is essential for our bodies to live. and animals. The particles are very small 4 . One type of air pollution is the release of particles into the air from burning fuel for energy. Each of these problems has serious implications for our health and well-being as well as for the whole environment. Diesel smoke is a good example of this particulate matter . water vapor and inert gases. These include smog. Air is 99. Human activities can release substances into the air.
pieces of matter measuring about 2. 5 . homes. It is therefore important to consider both indoor and outdoor air pollution.0001 inches. and schools. offices. forming smog and acid rain. Another type of pollution is the release of noxious gases. The exhaust from burning fuels in automobiles. and chemical vapors. nitrogen oxides. In the United States. This type of pollution is sometimes referred to as "black carbon" pollution. Some authorities believe that even the burning of wood and charcoal in fireplaces and barbeques can release significant quanitites of soot into the air. Some of these pollutants can be created by indoor activities such as smoking and cooking. we spend about 80-90% of our time inside buildings. such as sulfur dioxide. Pollution also needs to be considered inside our homes.5 microns or about . and industries is a major source of pollution in the air. These can take part in further chemical reactions once they are in the atmosphere. and so our exposure to harmful indoor pollutants can be serious. carbon monoxide.
Outdoor Air Pollution Smog is a type of large-scale outdoor pollution. Under these conditions the pollution cannot rise and be dispersed. Additional information about smog and its effects are available from Environment Canada and the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) in southern California. temperature. primarily automobile exhaust and industrial emissions. It is caused by chemical reactions between pollutants derived from different sources. pollution is dispersed differently. For each city. A temperature inversion occurs when air close to the earth is cooler than the air above it. wind and weather factors. Cities are often centers of these types of activities. Cities surrounded by mountains also experience trapping of pollution. Winter inversions are 6 . the exact causes of pollution may be different. However. and many suffer from the effects of smog. sometimes this does not happen and the pollution can build up to dangerous levels. especially during the warm months of the year. Inversion can happen in any season. Depending on the geographical location.
such as sulfuric acid combines with droplets of water in the air.likely to cause particulate and cabon monoxide pollution.) Additional resources and information about the Greenhouse Effect and global warming are available from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). (One of the consequences of polar ice cap melting would be a rise in global sea level. Plants convert carbon dioxide back to oxygen. Damage due to acid rain kills trees and harms animals. Changes of even a few degrees will affect us all through changes in the climate and even the possibility that the polar ice caps may melt. the Science Education Academy of the Bay Area (SEABA) and the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). resulting in widespread coastal flooding. and other wildlife. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). it poisons the soil. Another consequence of outdoor air pollution is acid rain. the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is continuing to increase. is generally believed to come from the build up of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. The U. It damages plants by destroying their leaves. 7 . Summer inversions are more likely to create smog. and Environment Canada are among the organizations that are actively studying the acid rain problem. and it changes the chemistry of lakes and streams.S. This buildup acts like a blanket and traps heat close to the surface of our earth. When a pollutant. also referred to as global warming. Thus. The Greenhouse Effect. fish. The effects of acid rain on the environment can be very serious. The situation is made worse since many of the earth's forests are being removed. Geological Survey (USGS). Carbon dioxide is produced when fuels are burned. the water (or snow) can become acidified . and plant life is being damaged by acid rain. but the release of carbon dioxide from human activities is higher than the world's plants can process.
Additional resources and information about the ozone depletion problem are available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Ozone ACTION. Ultraviolet radiation is known to cause skin cancer and has damaging effects on plants and wildlife. 8 . Chemicals released by our activities affect the stratosphere . cooling systems and refrigerator equipment removes some of the ozone.Ozone depletion is another result of pollution. one of the atmospheric layers surrounding earth. causing "holes". Release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) from aerosol cans. to open up in this layer and allowing the radiation to reach the earth. The ozone layer in the stratosphere protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Radon is a natural radioactive gas released from the earth. eat. We work. Pollution exposure at home and work is often greater than outdoors. For these reasons. cooking and heating appliances. cause pollution inside buildings. 9 . Tobacco smoke. and vapors from building materials. Additional information about the radon problem is available from the USGS and the Minnesota Radon Project. study. and it can be found concentrated in basements in some parts of the United States.as much as 80-90% of their lives.Indoor Air Pollution Many people spend large portion of time indoors . The California Air Resources Board estimates that indoor air pollutant levels are 25-62% greater than outside levels and can pose serious health problems. drink and sleep in enclosed environments where air circulation may be restricted. paints. furniture. There are many sources of indoor air pollution. some experts feel that more people suffer from the effects of indoor air pollution than outdoor pollution. Both indoor and outdoor pollution need to be controlled and/or prevented. etc.
or kidneys. heart disease. Examples of short-term effects include irritation to the eyes. heart and lung disease may also suffer more when the air is polluted. nerves. nausea.. lung cancer. Different groups of individuals are affected by air pollution in different ways. liver. People with health problems such as asthma. i. The extent to which an individual is harmed by air pollution usually depends on the total exposure to the damaging chemicals.e. and upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. the duration of exposure and the concentration of the chemicals must be taken into account. Young children and elderly people often suffer more from the effects of air pollution. Short-term air pollution can aggravate the medical conditions of individuals with asthma and emphysema. and allergic reactions. Some individuals are much more sensitive to pollutants than are others. nose and throat. Other symptoms can include headaches. Long-term health effects can include chronic respiratory disease. and even damage to the brain. four thousand people died in a few days due to the high concentrations of pollution.How can air pollution hurt my health? Air pollution can affect our health in many ways with both short-term and long-term effects. In the great "Smog Disaster" in London in 1952. Continual exposure to air 10 .
11 . It is estimated that half a million people die prematurely every year in the United States as a result of smoking cigarettes. Research into the health effects of air pollution is ongoing.D. lost productivity in the workplace. Additional information on the health effects of air pollution is available from the Natural Resources Defense Council.M. Healthcare costs. and human welfare impacts cost billions of dollars each year. Medical conditions arising from air pollution can be very expensive. A short article on the health effects of ozone (a major component of smog) is available from the B.A.Q.A.pollution affects the lungs of growing children and may aggravate or complicate medical conditions in the elderly.
These can be accomplished by regulation of man-made pollution through legislation. Once exposure levels have been set. Researchers have investigated outdoor air pollution and have developed standards for measuring the type and amount of some serious air pollutants. steps can be undertaken to reduce exposure to air pollution. Many countries have set controls on pollution emissions for transportation vehicles and industry. Educators in schools and universities teach students. Scientists must then determine how much exposure to pollutants is harmful. Scientific groups study the damaging effects on plant. beginning at very young ages. 12 . animal and human life. about the effects of air pollution. Legislative bodies write laws to control emissions. The first step to solving air pollution is assessment .How can we prevent the damaging effects of air pollution? In many countries in the world. steps are being taken to stop the damage to our environment from air pollution.
Additional information is available in a book titled Understanding Ventilation . careful attention to our interactions with the environment. the Environmental Protection Agency of California. Additional information is available from EcoTech. Prevention is another key to controlling air pollution. and the Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention (GHASP). The regulatory agencies mentioned above play an essential role in reducing and preventing air pollution in the environment.D. Additional information about product chemical safety are available in an article and a fact sheet from Enviro$en$e. Many state and local organizations also participate in monitoring and controlling the environment. Information on building materials can be found in LBNL's Center for Building Science newsletter. In addition. Home and work environments should be monitored for adequate air flow and proper exhaust systems installed. In the United States. In the United States. it is possible to prevent many types of air pollution that are not regulated through personal. Building materials should be reviewed for potential harmful effects. most household products come with instructions about safe use. the primary federal agency is the Environmental Protection Agency. SmogBusters of southern California.A.M.This is usually done to through a variety of coordinating agencies which monitor the air and the environment. the Air Quality Management District in southern California. Adequate ventilation is also a key to controlling exposure to indoor air pollution. the Atmosphere Management Program carries out world wide environmental projects. and in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).Q. These include the San Francisco Bay Area's Air Quality Management District (B. At the United Nations.A. 13 .).
This challenge must be met by all of us in order to assure that a healthy environment will exist for ourselves and our children. legislators. and individuals can we reduce the amount of air pollution on the planet. Additional information about the effects of "secondhand" cigarette smoke is available from the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and Medicine On-line. 14 . business leaders. Find out "What you can do to reduce air pollution". Only through the efforts of scientists. but personal exposure should be monitored and limited wherever possible. Restricting smoking is an important key to a healthier environment.One of the most dangerous air pollutants is cigarette smoke. Legislation to control smoking is in effect in some locations.
Additional resources dealing with the problems associated with particulate pollution are available from Burning Issues. (This group has additional information at a second site. but also to the entire global environment. Scientific publications dealing with the analysis of soot and smoke date back as early as 1896. coal. 15 .) In recent years. not only to human health. and natural gas) that the sum total of all combustion-related emissions now constitutes a serious and widespread problem. Air pollution caused by such particulates has been a major problem since the beginning of the industrial revolution and the development of the internal combustion engine .Why study black carbon pollution? Black carbon pollution is the release of tiny particles into the air from burning fuel for energy. Education is one important step toward correcting the problem. Mankind has become so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels (petroleum products. there has been great concern about black carbon pollution of the air in parts of Eastern Europe.
built. Tony is the inventor of an instrument capable of measuring graphitic carbon aerosol (a suspension of airborn carbon particles better known as soot). Illinois to spend a summer in the DOE Teacher Research Associate Program (TRAC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. To 16 . a high school biology teacher named Dean Rockwell came from Macomb.Taking black carbon measurement to Eastern Europe In 1989. and operated by students. a physicist named Tony Hansen. Dean and Tony discussed the possibility of developing a similar device that could be easily understood. a large garbage bag. Tony and Dean developed a procedure that used simple. and he introduced Dean to its use. so that teachers could afford to assemble it on their small science budgets. a vacuum cleaner. One of the scientists. commonly available materials such as facial tissue. plastic cups and a $2. Soot is a major atmospheric pollutant. They challenged themselves to make an instrument that would be inexpensive . Tony developed a device to measure this pollutant. Tony and Dean built the instrument out of these simple materials and they tested it. After learning more about the instrument. He was assigned to work with a research group studying the earth's atmosphere.40 photo cell that could be attached to an ammeter. was part of this group. a light bulb.
Dr. Through the Slovenian Board of Education. European scientists discussed their limited resources and their desire to set up a network to monitor air pollution. Ulle Kikas. over 60 schools in Slovenia share data on the Internet in this national network. Classroom materials have been developed for all grade levels. Bizjak developed information packets and a training video that were sent to interested school teachers. particularly the soot concentration in Eastern European countries. Dr. This idea was very interesting to scientists in Slovenia . The teachers were enthusiastic. Dr. Bizjak and Hansen. Estonia learned of the Slovenian program in 1992 received instructional materials from Drs.their surprise. Tony suggested that they try the instrument that he and Dean had developed. an educator and scientist from Tartu University in Tartu. School children volunteers and their teachers/mentors built their own sampling and analysis devices in school shops and laboratories. can be ten times greater than the concentration on a bad day in Los Angeles. of the National Chemistry Institute of Slovenia. The air pollution problem. In the summer of 1992. The school-based measurement program also caught on fast in Estonia. Dean Rockwell was invited to visit 10 schools in Slovenia and to talk about the program to school science teachers. and older students receive and 17 . thought it would be a good idea to involve and educate school children about environmental issues. The idea caught on. this low-tech procedure produced data that were extremely similar to those provided by Tony's best high-tech equipment! Tony had developed research collaborations with scientists in Eastern Europe even before the Berlin Wall fell. Mirko Bizjak. Today.
p. the 12 schools that measure soot in the atmosphere comprise the only air pollution monitoring network in this small country! This work has been reported in the Journal for Chemical Education (Vol. 43. In Estonia. 60) and the 5th International Conference on Carbonaceous Particles in the Atmosphere .1 January 1994. 18 . 318-23. the Bulletin of the World Meteorological Organization (Vol.analyze data. 1994). 71. No. pp.