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Air Pollution and Human Health

Air Pollution and Human Health - Stephanie Warner ZOO 161...

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Stephanie Warner ZOO 161 LAB AB Shweta Nayar November 7, 2006 Air Pollution and Human Health Air pollution has many environmental and health impacts. In the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the moisture and form an aerosol of strong acids. Some of this aerosol may drift upward, forming acidic clouds that may be blown hundreds of miles away by the prevailing winds and then fall as acid rain drops. The acidic aerosol may remain close to its source as a component of the haze created by air pollution. In addition, sunlight can cause hydrocarbons and nitrogen dioxide to react with one another and form a mix of hundreds of substances called photochemical smog. The most harmful component of photochemical smog is ozone, which attacks cells, destroys tissue, irritates the respiratory system, damages plants, and even erodes rubber. As air containing toxic substances fills the lungs, cells lining the airways and within the lungs is injured. Damaged cells release histamine, which causes the nearby capillaries to become
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