Origins of Air Pollution
Although some emissions occur naturally in our atmosphere, most are from human activities at work, at home and on the road. They are released from cars, trucks, buses, planes, trains, ships, refineries, factories, gasoline stations, solvent-based paints and cleaners and consumer products. Transportation creates over half the air pollution in our region. The remainder comes from stationary sources such as power plants, industries, small- and medium-sized businesses, homes and consumer products.
What is Smog?
Smog refers to air pollution that is formed when gases from many sources mentioned are released into the air and chemically react with each other in sunlight. Ocean breezes sweep the smog inland and toward the mountains where an inversion layer of warm air pushes it down, trapping the smog close to the ground where we live and breathe.
Who is Affected by Air Pollution?
Anyone can be affected by air pollution, but those considered to be most sensitive are people with heart or lung diseases (such as asthma), the elderly, infants and children, and pregnant women. Even healthy people who exercise outdoors during smoggy hours are affected.
Health Consequences of Air Pollution
Smog can cause numerous health issues including:
- Chest discomfort
- Congested sinuses
- Eye irritation
- Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis
- Long-term health problems affecting your respiratory, cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems
- Shortness of breath
- Worsened existing conditions such as asthma, emphysema or angina