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What is Ozone?
What is Particle Pollution ?
Air Quality and Your Health? (brochure in .pdf)



Air Pollution Impacts Your Health

Why should we be concerned about air pollution?

In many U.S. cities, activities such as driving cars and trucks; burning coal, oil, and other fossil fuels; and manufacturing chemicals pollute the air we breathe. Air pollution can even come from smaller, everyday activities such as dry cleaning, filling your car with gas, and degreasing and painting operations. These activities add gases and particles to the air we breathe. When these gases and particles accumulate in the air in high enough concentrations, they can harm our health and our environment. Larger populations in cities and surrounding counties lead to more cars, trucks, industrial and commercial operations, and generally means more pollution.

Air pollution is a problem for all of us. The average adult breathes over 3,000 gallons of air every day. Children breathe even more air per pound of body weight and are more susceptible to air pollution. Many air pollutants remain in the environment for long periods and are carried by the winds hundreds of miles from their origin. Millions of people live in areas where ozone, very small particles and toxic pollutants pose serious health concerns.

Air pollution can make you sick

People who are exposed to high enough levels of certain air pollutants may experience burning in their eyes and nose, an itchy, irritated throat, or breathing difficulties. Long-term exposure to some toxic chemicals found in polluted air can cause cancer, birth defects, brain and nerve damage, and long-term injury to the lungs and breathing passages, and the immune, neurological, and reproductive systems. Some air pollutants are so dangerous that accidental releases can cause serious injury or even death.

People vary in their response to air pollution. Some people are especially vulnerable to the health effects of air pollution. These sensitive populations include children, the elderly and people with heart and respiratory diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis.