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Rock Street 34, San Francisco State

Air Pollution & Health

There are many kinds of indoor and outdoor pollution, including photochemical smog, acid rain, and second hand smoke. Air pollution threatens the health of our flora and fauna as well as human health. The impact of these kinds of pollution results in such conditions as the development of diseases like cancer and environmental and human threats such as ozone layer depletion.

It was not until the 1940s and 1950s that governments began to form policies designed to maintain air quality. Large scale air pollution disasters in Europe and the U.S. convinced officials that air pollution was potentially fatal to humans and perhaps even the planet itself. One of these disasters was known as the ôkiller fogö in Denora, Pennsylvania, that killed 50, and a much more virulent ôfogö in London in 1952 that resulted in the deaths of 4,000 people (Rising, 1998-99, 1). Since that time attempts at combating air pollution have been challenged by increasing industrialism the world over. While many nations have adopted ambient air quality standards over the past five decades, there are still many threats to the environment and human health from air pollution.

It is often the phenomenon of thermal inversion that is responsible for causing the deaths in cities where pollution levels are high due to photochemical smog. It is believed that photochemical smog and thermal inversion precipitated by the byproducts of the burgeoning industrial revolution that are responsible for the deaths in London. Efforts to reduce or prevent photochemical smog involve uses other sources of creating energy such as sunlight, alternative forms of fuel like electric and liquid petroleum gas and others that save money and produce fewer emissions. Since a great deal of photochemical smog occurs from automobile emissions, individuals can also prevent such air pollution by using vehicles less often, keeping vehicles well maintained, driving smoothly, buying more effi…

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