What Is Air Pollution?

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What is air pollution? According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Victoria, “Air pollution occurs when the air contains, gases, dust, fumes, or odour in harmful amounts.” Air pollution comes from many different things, which can be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment. For humans it can lead to problems with health such as respiratory systems. It comes in different forms of pollutants, which are various different chemical compounds. For example, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ammonia (NH3) are considered primary pollutants while SO3 (sulfur trioxide) and HNO3 (Nitric acid) are secondary pollutants (The Chemistry of Air Pollution). But, what is the link air pollution has to chemistry? Air pollution…show more content…
According to SEPA, “Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless, and a very poisonous gas.” But, what is the chemical side of it? SEPA states, that CO is a by-product of an incomplete combustion reaction, which involves carbon based energy sources, for example the burning of coal or wood. So, how is carbon monoxide formed? When not enough oxygen is available in order to create CO2 then CO is made instead, which is harmful to humans if it is inhaled (The Chemistry of Air Pollution). Another pollutant that is primary is NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), which has physical properties of being a reddish brown gas accompanied with an unpleasant smell and when high in concentration can be poisonous (The Chemistry of Air Pollution). How is NO2 formed? When burned at high temperatures, fossil fuels form NO2 pollutants that can increase the chances of having respiratory problems (The Chemistry of Air Pollution). Lastly, O3, another main primary pollutant, has the physical property of being a colorless gas (The Chemistry of Air Pollution). An example of another physical property of ozone would be smell. According to SEPA, The Chemistry of Air Pollution notes, that a person can smell O3 if one leaves freshly washed laundry out on a hot day or after a heavy thunder storm. This part of air pollution relates to chemistry through the physical properties of chemical compounds, such as knowing the color, the smell, the state of matter, and the change in temperature as well as the chemical
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