Effects of Air Pollution

Manifold potential effects result from air pollution in an area. These effects are manifested in humans, animals, plants, materials, or climatological variations.

The potential effects of air pollution can be categorized in many ways. One approach is to consider the type of effect and identify the potential air pollutants causing that effect. Another approach is to select an air pollutant such as sulfur dioxide and list all potential effects caused by sulfur dioxide. The types of potential air pollutant effects include aesthetic losses, economic losses, safety hazards, personal discomfort, and health effects. Aesthetic effects include loss of clarity of the atmosphere as well as the presence of objectionable odors. Atmospheric clarity loss can be caused by particulates and smog as well as by visibility reductions due to nitrate and sulfate particles. Objectionable odors encompass a range of potential air pollutants; the majority are associated with the gaseous form. Examples of odorous air pollutants include hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and mercaptans. Mercaptans are thio alcohols which are characterized by strong odors often associated with sulfur.

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