What lifestyle changes can you make to become part of the solution in your community? Can these changes extend to the global community? You may discuss this topic at the Discussion board.

Write an essay of approximately 2 pages in length that addresses the following: (1) Describe what you are personally most concerned about relative to air pollution and air quality. Please focus on issues that you feel most effect you or your family. For example, if you have very light skin and are outdoors a lot it might be the diminishing ozone layer. If you or your children have asthma it might be air quality issues that affect asthma. It could be air toxics because you are concerned about a potential family history of cancer, smog/ozone because you are a jogger, etc. If you like to fish or eat fish it could be acid rain or mercury from power plants. Those are just some examples, please pick the one you really care about because it is an important issue.

For sources you could use these sites. And only use the sources i provide. If you need additional sources you could get them from any site, as its more preferable than books:

Depletion of the Ozone Layer

The stratospheric ozone layer protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Rowland and Molina discovered that chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs could damage the stratospheric ozone layer through the release of chlorine atoms. EPA took action by banning the use of aerosol cans containing CFCs in the U.S. Most of the effects of CFCs can be observed in the Earth’s polar regions with the ozone hole, polar vortex, and the arctic hole, however, ozone depletion is everywhere. The Montreal Protocol of 1987 and the phase-out of CFCs in the U.S. are some of the responses to coming to grips with ozone depletion.

What lifestyle changes can you make to become part of the solution in your community? Can these changes extend to the global community? You may discuss this topic at the Discussion board.

Atmospheric Pollution

Air Pollution Essentials

The atmosphere is comprised primarily of gases and aerosols. Factors determining the level of air pollution include the amount of pollutants entering the air, the amount of space that pollutants are dispersed, and the mechanisms to remove pollutants from the air. Natural air pollutants have been cleaned in the biosphere by hydroxyl radical, aerosolized sea salts, and microorganisms in soil. Human activities have elevated pollutants above normal concentrations thereby using up the hydroxyl radical cleansing power. The appearance of industrial and photochemical smog began around the time of the Industrial Revolution due to combustion sources such as coal burning factories and automobiles. Long-term temperature inversions cause pollutants to build up to dangerous levels prompting health officials to urge people with breathing problems to stay indoors.

Donora, PA generated questions regarding possible weakening of the CAA and the potential impacts of such action. Are there any lessons to be learned from Mexico City? (p. 577).

Additional information on smog and other air pollutants can be found at the American Lung Association (www.lungusa.org) and the US EPA (https://www.epa.gov/region01/).

Major air pollutants and their sources

Primary pollutants (direct products of combustion and evaporation) are tracked and monitored by the US EPA under the Clean Air Act. Since lead was removed from gasoline, lead smelters and battery manufacturers have become the largest sources of lead emissions. Most toxics tend to originate from industries and small businesses whereas radon is a natural decay process from rocks and soil. Once in the atmosphere, some primary pollutants may undergo further reactions and produce secondary pollutants. Some of these secondary pollutants (sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) enter the troposphere, oxidize with hydroxyl radicals, and return to Earth as acid deposition. Acid deposition is measured according to acidic or basic properties of the concentrations of hydrogen ions on a pH scale. Natural emissions of sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides have remained fairly constant but anthropogenic sources have increased significantly.

Consult the Massachusetts’ Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) website at (https://www.turadata.turi.org/). Enter your community name and find out what toxics are being used, generated, and emitted.

Air Pollutants of Concern in Massachusetts – “Particulates in the air prompt greater concern than ever. Recent public health studies state that more Massachusetts residents die prematurely from exposure to fine particulates than are killed in automobile accidents. And new scientific research argues that the national standard for particulates must be far more stringent, to focus on smaller particles that more easily reach our lungs.”

III. Impact of Air Pollutants

Human exposure to air pollutants can have chronic, acute, or carcinogenic effects on human health. The chronic effects of air pollutants can be seen in the increased levels of asthma in the United States in the last decade. Studies analyzed by the Health Effects Institute have concluded that higher concentrations of fine particles were correlated with increased mortality rates, especially heart disease and lung cancer. Air pollutants can damage the environment (crops, forests, and visibility of the sky) and man-made objects such as buildings, artifacts, and automobiles. A 1999, the EPA established a Regional Haze Rule aimed at improving visibility at natural parks and wilderness areas.

Acid deposition impacts aquatic ecosystems (i.e.: mercury accumulation in fish as lake waters become more acidic), in forests (i.e.: chemical interactions in forest soils leaching out of essential nutrients such as calcium and introducing toxics such as aluminum ions), artifacts, surface water, groundwater, and water distribution lines.

Consult the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website (https://www.mass.gov/dph/topics/cancer.htm) for statistical data on cancer rates and health impacts from heavy metals such as mercury and lead. Is there an increase in health risks from air pollutants in Massachusetts? Can we draw any direct conclusions?


 


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