What Are We Breathing? Essay

2006 Words9 Pages
     Poor air quality is the culprit for the consequences that are being suffered by many human and plant communities. Air pollution, smog, or acid rain; it may be called whatever you like, it is the effects that it is causing that are important. Although many people associate smog with Los Angeles, it is not the only area that has been effected by poor air quality. Many national parks, aquatic systems, and other populated areas are showing major signs of air pollution.      "A large pollution study revealed that when smog increases in the Los Angeles Basin area, there is a big jump in the number of people hospitalized for lung and heart problems (Dreher 1998)." The effects of…show more content…
Laboratory animal studies suggest there may be biochemical, immunological, and morphological changes in respiratory tract tissues (van Bree 1993)." Air pollution can also have effects that are less serious, but, nevertheless harmful. "It can make your eyes water, irritate your nose, and cause headaches, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, dizziness and nausea (Dreher 1998)."      To alert people of pollutant levels, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports a Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) every day. The PSI considers the levels of carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter in the air and uses a scale (from 1-500) to show the combined levels of pollutants in the air on a given day. If the PSI level is less than 50, then the air is considered to be healthy. However, a PSI of 300 or more may be hazardous to your health. When the PSI is above 400, the EPA highly recommends that everyone in the general population should remain indoors. Also at PSI levels of above 400, "premature death of ill and elderly persons may result (Dreher 1998)." Even PSI levels of around 100 are considered to be unhealthful; the EPA suggests that "susceptible individuals, such as those with heart or lung disease, should minimize outdoor activity (Underwood 1998)." For the
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