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Air pollution in US - Essay Example

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This essay describes that air pollution is a problem that elicits national and international interest. This is sorely due to the adverse effects it has on the environment and most importantly the negative health effects on humans. Several policies have been put in place but more needs to be done…
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Air pollution in US
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Air Pollution in the USA Introduction Air pollution is a problem that elicits national and international interest. This is sorely due to the adverseeffects it has on the environment and most importantly the negative health effects on humans. Several policies have been put in place but more needs to be done to increase the benefits. An understanding of sources and effects of air pollution would guide the USA in adopting appropriate control measures.
Air pollution is grouped into indoor and outdoor air pollution, both having different sources. In the USA, indoor pollutants are generated by asbestos from pipes, floor tiles and walls, lead from toys and old paint, dust from vacuum cleaning and dirt, combustion products from smoking, candles and cooking, and radon from underground water and soil intrusion (Phalen and Phalen 30). Others include household cleaning and maintenance products such as air fresheners, paints and other solvents, as well as pollen and mold. The relative significance of any given source is dependent on the amount and hazardous levels of its emissions as argued by the US Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. Additionally, humidity and high temperatures may increase the concentrations in some pollutants. Inadequate ventilation allows pollutants to accumulate to risky levels that might cause health problems. EPA has identified 6 outdoor pollutants found all over the United States: ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, lead and sulfur dioxide. The sources of these pollutants include stationary sources such as power plants, factories, landfills and mobile sources such as vehicles, construction and farm equipment, planes, trains and gas-powered lawn mowers and tools.
Air pollution has had adverse effects on the people of the US. Indoor air pollution may trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, including asthma, respiratory-tract infections, emphysema, cardiovascular diseases and bronchitis (Phalen and Phalen 30). Some effects may be fatal or severely debilitating such as cancer, heart disease and some respiratory diseases and may only be noticed after repeated or long periods of exposure. Treatable effects include irritation of the nose, eyes and throat, dizziness, fatigue and headaches. The effects of outdoor pollutants include permanent lung damage, irritation of the respiratory system, asthma attacks, susceptibility to respiratory infections and acute bronchitis (EPA). Some have severe effects such as lead which accumulates in bones and adversely affects kidney function, the nervous system, cardiovascular system as well as developmental and reproductive systems. Environmentally, air pollution is responsible for climate change and global warming through the greenhouse effect.
It is important that air pollution is reduced to levels that have minimal environmental and health effects. Statistics from EPA show significant reduction of the emission of pollutant gases in the period between 2000 and 2012. Carbon monoxide emission reduced by 51%, lead by 50%, while that of sulfur dioxide reduced by 66%. In line with this, EPA promulgates regulations that should be followed by individual citizens, businesses, communities and states. There should be controlled use of volatile organic compounds in solvents and paints, tighter controls for emission from vehicles and enhanced use of low-sulfur fuels. Additionally, new and existing manufacturing plants and industries should be issued with emission limitations and non-compliants should face severe consequences.
Conclusion
Air pollution is a critical problem in the USA. This is due to the adverse effects it has on humans and the environment. Despite a general reduction on such pollution in the country, more stringent regulations need to be adopted, including emission controls and limitations, so as to make the environment safer for all in the USA.
Works Cited
Phalen, R., F and Robert Phalen. Introduction to Air Pollution Science: A Public Health Perspective. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2013. Print.
U.S Environmental Protection Agency. Six Common Air Pollutants, 20 Apr. 2012. Web. 3 May 2014 http://www.epa.gov/airquality/urbanair/ Read More
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