What is dirty air?

Dirty air is caused by the harmful substances in the air we breathe. Sometimes a lot, sometimes less. 
Fine dust and ozone cause particular problems. Air pollution comes from traffic, industry and agriculture. But wood stoves and fireplaces also pollute the air. 

fine dust - particulate matter:

The most harmful fine particles (small particles of dust in the air) come from combustion, especially from diesels. Along busy streets during rush hour, the amount of particles in the air increases. 
The smaller the particles the deeper they penetrate into your lungs. You can't cough them up or breathe them out. They stay in your lungs. The size of the particles is so small they are often referred to as ultrafine particles (UFP).


Is not emitted directly, but is created by sunlight from a chemical reaction of various substances, including nitrogen oxides. High concentrations of ozone occur only in the summer. Other substances that affect health are sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). 

Main types of air pollution

  • Particulate matter
  • nitrogen dioxide
  • ozone
Effects of particulates and nitroxen dioxide are:

  • Increased respiratory symptoms (wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath)
  • Increased asthma 
  • Reduced lung function 
  • Increased hospitalizations for chronic pulmonary patients and heart patients 
  • Increased premature mortality from lung and heart disease e 

Effects of ozone:

  • Irritation of the throat, nose and eye 
  • Cough, chest pain, shortness of breath 
  • Headache, nausea and dizziness

Source: longfund 2014


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