Article

Community Air Pollution

Morton Lippmann

in Public Health

ISBN: 9780199756797
Published online February 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0003
Community Air Pollution

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Human activities generate ambient air pollutants that we all inhale when outdoors. These pollutants also infiltrate the indoor microenvironments where people in developed countries typically spend about 90 percent of their time. Some of them, especially fossil fuel combustion effluents from motor vehicles and power plants, and their atmospheric transformation products, can produce adverse health effects. Pollutants of outdoor origin are present in complex mixtures. Their adverse effects (premature cardiopulmonary mortality, morbidity, lost time from work or school, functional impairment) are most closely associated with the concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5, that is, PM with aerodynamic diameters below 2.5 um), coarse thoracic PM (PM10-2.5, that is, PM with aerodynamic diameters between 10 and 2.5 um), ozone (O3), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). These air pollutants, plus sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and lead (Pb), which historically have had numerous and widespread sources, are known as “criteria pollutants,” and are regulated in the United States in terms of ambient mass concentrations. Other air pollutants, which generally are emitted from more limited numbers of point sources and include known or suspected carcinogens, are known as “hazardous air pollutants” (HAPs) or air toxics. They are regulated in the United States by mass emission limits that have been selected to be conservative enough to prevent a significant number of people from suffering adverse health effects from them.

Article.  8693 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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