# Talk:Air pollution

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## Comprehensiveness?

I do feel pollution it its true sence is not comprehensive without due consideration to contaminations by biological agents, which, equally compromise the integrity on an environment. In mind are introductions of species outside native range resulting in adverse longterm impacts (mdouma2001@yahoo.com). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 61.152.161.241 (talk) 03:06, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

## 4.6 million deaths ???

I would like some source about it. I searched the WHO website for a while, and couldnt get a clue about the numbers. The only reliable document I found from WHO tells that the number are rather 1.5M (indoor air pollution) + 0.9 M (outdoor air pollution) = 2.4 M This document can be read here : http://www.who.int/entity/quantifying_ehimpacts/countryprofilesebd.xls

Hephaestos le Bancal 09:07, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Deaths due to air pollution to skyrocket: CMA

An estimated 700,000 Canadians will die prematurely over the next two decades because of illnesses caused by poor air quality, the Canadian Medical Association said in a report Wednesday.[1]--CarrotLore (talk) 22:38, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

## Intro sentence

"Air pollution is a broad term applied to all chemical substances, physical and biological agents that modify the natural characteristics of the atmosphere."

I removed "substances, physical" above since there are no physical substances that modify something yet are inert. Koyaanis Qatsi

But energy can affect the atmosphere (ie.: radiation) user:ChaTo Thursday, July 18, 2002.
Particulates damage lungs through their physical presence, rather than chemistry, and are a significant element of air pollution.Will McW 23:05, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

ATTENTION: The only thing that I see when I view this page is the words "GOD WILL SAVE!!!!" I do not know how to fix this but figured that it was worth mentioning, seeing as probably no one can view this page.

## Modify the natural characteristics?

I think that the phrase

modify the natural characteristics

is not what air pollution means. There is a connotation of making the air noxious, smelly, discolored; causing known bad side effects like death from humans inhaling poisons; or unpleasant side effects like smog; or theoretical disastrous side effects, e.g., ozone depletion or global warming.

The word modify just doesn't work here. Ed Poor, Friday, July 12, 2002

Good point. "Damage the atmosphere" seems a little strong, though. Maybe a link to pollution? Vicki Rosenzweig, Saturday, July 13, 2002
I disagree. We can't know if the changes we are making to the atmosphere are for good. For instance, if we talk about water pollution, and i throw sugar on a river, i'm not damaging the water, i'm making it sweeter!. Maybe the sugar is harmless, maybe it's not, but i have polluted the river. Polution comes from the latin "pollere" meaning "soil" and "defile". On the other side, From The Longman Dictionary of Environmental Science, as "any harmful or undesirable change in the physical, chemical or biological quality of air, water or soil . . . ". I think there is a strong controversy here, some definitions include harm made by humans and by nature (ie: the explosion of a volcano), and some definitions accept changes to the environment that are not harmful (for instance, aesthetic changes, or ) as being non-pollution. Maybe we should put both views here. user:ChaTo Thursday, July 18, 2002.

its not the point whether we are making changes for the good or not. any change from prehistoric times is simply a change and de facto pollution of the atmosphere. we are not smart enough to judge what effect these changes will have on people and ecosystems. our job is to factually record in wikipedia what these changes or pollutants are. maybe the phrase is "materially alter the content of air". its a mouthful though and someone can come up with a better wording Anlace February 17, 2006

Hey. I disagree with ChaTo on the sugar part, when you add sugar on a river or water, there's no way you will have water again. You anticipated a product from the mixture, which is "sweet water" but not water. And yes it does damage the water because it natural flavor isn't there anymore, and sugar isn't a safe substance for human due to the fact that we do have diabetic agents within our enviroment. And to continue with the main subject, I think that air pollution is an enormous issues, and i indeed appreciate the effort done by the engineers, scientists, enviromentalists, and all those that volunteer to put an end to this matter. The French, Russians, Japonese, and many more are contributed on that behalf by operating their vehicle with water, hybrid and diesel instead of gasoline. which are steps that prove that they are working to reduce the chances for "Global warming", and many incidents to come. User:nikel81ex Tuesday, March 20, 2007

But still, what is a "natural state" of the atmosphere? When the first leaf plants began to produce oxygen (a poison from some perspective) a mass extinction followed. IMHO, pollution definitions are very atropocentric - if it harms the human body, it is a pollution. Also, pollution is not only man-made: think about a volcano, even if its natural, we call it a polluter. --Oderbolz 06:07, 29 March 2007 (UTB)

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==Carbon dioxide== Carbondioxide is not air pollutant. CO2 is essential gas for photosynthesis. Whole life on Earth depends on that. Siim 21:18, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)

True. A better example in this context would be carbon monoxide.Will McW 23:06, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I am afraid it all depends what you mean by 'air pollutant'. There are natural sources of carbon monoxide as well as of carbon dioxide (especially natural wildfires). Ozone is also essential for life as we know it - without the ozone layer levels of ultraviolet light would be huge. However there is no doubt in most people's minds that low level ozone is a pollutant. The point about CO2 is that its levels are substantially elevated above the levels observed in recent geological time and is now believed by most scientists to be changing the climate. A good definition of air pollution is that from the state of Maine:

"Air pollution" means the presence in the outdoor atmosphere of one or more air contaminants in sufficient quantities and of such characteristics and duration as to be injurious to human, plant or animal life or to property, or which unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life and property throughout the State or throughout such areas of the State as shall be affected thereby.[2]

Although I would extend that to be global rather than one state and to also include indoor air pollution. Still, in the context of the article, CO is probably a better example. This is probably also relevant to the above discusion as well.--NHSavage 09:49, 8 October 1994 (UTC)

any substance can be a pollutant ...the notion is material alteration of any chemical. oxygen would be a pollutant if it became 100 percent of our air :)Anlace 14:11, 10 February 2006 Media:(UTC)

## Image:Atlanta parking garage settled particulates.jpg

This image was removed with the rationale "these particuates are from concrete & road dirt, not air pollution." I have replaced the image. I agree the the particulates may be mostly from concrete and 'road dirt.' However, according to the article, these are in fact sources of air pollution. The point being, if the particulates arrived by air (which I assert they did), they were air pollution. -SCEhardT 18:02, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Whether the particles are from concrete or road dirt they are > 100 microns. Unless they're under 2.5 microns, EPA doesn't consider them to be air pollution because they settle out so quickly. The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ghosts&empties (talk • contribs) .

I'm not entirely sure what the EPA has to do with this. Are you saying the Dust Bowl wasn't air pollution? -SCEhardT 17:22, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
This is not correct. Dispersion aerosols are > 2 microns. Dust from breaks and tyres are mayjor sources of PM10 (if you look at a Diesel vehicle, about 60% of its PM10 emission comes from Tyres and breaks).

--Oderbolz 06:11, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Basically, yes. Dust storms obscure visibility, but unless the dust is respirable (0.1 - 2.5 microns) the health effects aren't particularly a concern with some exceptions (e.g. cattle in a feedlot). The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ghosts&empties (talk • contribs) .

Particulates are the chief form of air pollution in many communities, especially those engaged in agriculture, and can be a major health problem. I'm not sure how we know the particulates in the photo were of a certain size, but I'm sure we can find a better photo to illustrate the concept, like a dust storm or dust devil. -Willmcw 21:29, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
The other question is what one means by pollution. Particulates with a diameter greater than 2.5 microns may not be considered pollution by the EPA (the standard in the UK actually has an upper cut off at 10 microns) but they may still have harmful effects. Some examples of this could be the soiling caused by the particulates or the radiative effects. Many people would feel that reduced visibility itself is undesireable. Not all pollution is simply about effects on human health. I agree we might find a better picture though. I'll have a think.--NHSavage 23:22, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
Note: establishing PM2.5 guidelines (vs. PM10) doesn't mean that what was pollution before no longer is. The definition has only broadened. Onceler 03:03, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

## Merge

• Hello all. This formatting monstrosity, quite possibly a copyvio, just came up on Special:Newpages, I think its pretty clear that it should be merged here. Thoughts? Jdcooper 17:29, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you on the merge. Because it's information from the EPA, it's not actually a copyvio, but it is terribly redundant and should be merged. TomTheHand 17:49, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Air pollution is a broad term. there are several fields under air pollution. Air toxics is in itself a big field of study. There is a seperate section at USEPA office which is working on Air toxics. http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/index.html I am a graduate student in atmospheric sciences working on Air Quality issues at NC state university and currently working on a project to develop a full fledged course on air toxics. I think we should not not merge Air toxic in Air pollution, though we can put a link in air pollution topic.

In theory I would agree that air toxics could be a separate article, if it actually had content and wasn't just a copy of one of the EPA's web pages. As it stands, though, it has no original content and should be merged. TomTheHand 18:03, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't have an opinions on the merge. As Naserke (please sign your edits :-)) is the graduate student in atmospheric sciences I am not going to argue either side, there seems to be an overlap, but if there is potential for separation then thats fine. However, the Air toxics article needs considerable formatting work done, especially wikification, its still a monstrosity! And as you pointed out TomTheHand, its not particularly useful solely as a copy of another site, it might as well just be an external link on this page if we're going to keep it like that. Basically, it just needs to be brought into line with the stern hand of Wikipedia :-) Jdcooper 18:10, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

I would have to agree with JDcooper on this one. Having the article as solely a copy of another site doesn't make sense when a simple link will do. CleanAir 15:47, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

I am new to wikipedia and don't know much about formatting and how to sign my edits. sorry for this. I am trying to learn this Naserke

Ok, ace, thats good for now, but if you actually do think a distinct topic can be covered under the Air toxins article, then absolutely go for it, Be Bold! Jdcooper 04:17, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Regarding sugestions that this article is redundant, I should mention that air pollutants and air toxics are two totally different terms. Like, ozone is an air pollutant but not air toxic. Naserke 04:18, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

The EPA page on "Air Toxics" refers to "toxic air pollutants",[3] which seems to blur the distinction, and their final list of air toxins includes ozone. [4] -Will Beback 04:32, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Merged - such as it consisted only of a couple of EPA links. Restart the page (now a redirect) when and if there is some real content. Vsmith 04:52, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Hey Will Beback http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/188polls.html This is list of 188 air toxics listed by EPA. I couldn't find ozone in it. I will update when i will write some material on it. Till then its ok to be redirected to air pollution. Naserke 05:03, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Air toxics should be linked to air pollution not merged. the notion of toxics is clearly separated from air pollution in general. for example CO is not a carcinogen, but radon is. air toxics is an important topic in itself and should not be redirected or merged here. Anlace 14:15, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

The term 'air pollution' is an umbrella term and encompasses a wide range of topics including both criteria pollutants such as ozone and particulates and also air toxics such as benzene. I believe criteria air pollutants are those which EPA has set national ambient air quality standards for, and air toxics do not have standards. I think the air pollution page should have an air toxics subsection with general overview and a link to a separate air toxics page which contains more detailed information. 'Same thing for criteria air pollutants'. Thomaslambert 13:48, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

## Higher atmospheric CO2 leading to ocean acidification?

I happened to hear mention about this on one or another NPR program, perhaps Science Friday, about a couple of weeks ago. I don't know how controversial it is or what the quantitative dependencies are understood to be (how much more CO2 would cause how much of a lower pH). Also, I haven't heard mention about how much ocean pH would need to lower by in order to have an effect on marine life. As I understand it, the greatest effects would be on the more primitive or "lower echelon" life forms such as coral and plankton and these would in turn affect things which feed on them, which indirectly means everything in the water. This sounds like a pretty important consequence of something happening in the atmosphere. I mention it on this talk page because it would be one effect of an increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the air and believe this would probably justify a brief mention with a link to any more relevant existing article about the ocean or ocean pollution, such as may exist. I was thinking I would add such info if/when I can find more references. Perhaps I am just not looking in the right place. If anyone else knows more about a wikipedia precedent for this feel free to pipe in. I don't want to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. -Onceler 01:59, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Sorry about the bother! I forgot I had docked my preferences the other day to tailor my searches. I found what I was looking for: Ocean acidification. -Onceler 10:49, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Hey Onceler. Feel free to pipe in. Be bold. Yes, find references, and add what they say. All we should be doing here is verifiably summarizing reliable sources using the neutral point of view. Indeed, certain kinds of water pollution may be a consequence of certain kinds of air pollution, and so it's a relevant topic. Cheers, -Will Beback 11:42, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

## Primary and secondary pollutants

On a cautionary note, reference to primary and secondary pollutants does seem to be common elsewhere and as such might have had a place in the article--I base this only on a google search. As I am not familiar with them, might I ask, what are primary and secondary standards? Could both senses (re pollutants/re standards) be used if they are properly defined? -Onceler 15:55, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

As I was not aware of these terms with respect to standards myself, I'll mention this for future reference. Regarding

• standards:
The EPA ranks regulations in accordance with who or what they are intended to protect as primary ("human health, including sensitive populations such as children, the elderly, and individuals suffering from respiratory disease") and secondary ("public welfare" such as "building facades, visibility, crops, and domestic animals"). This is per the article National Ambient Air Quality Standards as sourced from the EPA website. Does anyone know if these terms are based on any other more general or universal regulatory framework outside the EPA?
• pollutants:
Primary and secondary had formerly been used in this article to refer respectively to pollutants which are released directly and those which form after the fact from some combination of primary pollutants and/or other substances. It would be worthwhile knowing whether there are alternate formal or more appropriate terms to indicate the same thing.

Again, my comment is to weigh in on the relevance of primary/secondary distinctions in both senses and that there need not be confusion within the article as long as references are made clearly and appropriate caveats noted. Something like the above bullets might be worthwhile putting in the article itself. Unless more appropriate terminology is found, it would be better for this article to include and clarify multiple-sense terms which might cause confusion instead of ducking the question for the sake of convenience. -Onceler 02:04, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

## USA-only photos?

Any thoughts on the USA-only photos on this page? I believe that there may be air quality issues in other nations. Thoughts? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Hu Gadarn (talkcontribs) .

I think this is because only people in the US have contributed photos. Do you have relevant photos from Canada? -SCEhardT 19:05, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

I have photos of: (i) marine vessel emissions; (ii) "beehive"/"tee-pee" burners; (iii) gridlock in Vancouver, BC; (iv) outdoor burning (e.g. agriculture); (v) household emissions (e.g. lawnmowers, wood stoves, smoking BBQs; (vi) degraded visibility... I didn't want to simply remove some else's photo and install my own but if there's any interest in any of these then I'll upload. Hu Gadarn (talkcontribs) .

I'd suggest that you check out commons:Air pollution and commons:Category:Air pollution. Upload any of your photos that you think would be useful additions (there doesn't seem to be anything covering marine vessel emissions, for example). Even if they aren't used in this article, they'll probably be used in other articles or on other language wikipedias in the future. After that, pick out the best photos from the group and use them to illustrate the issues covered in this article - I wouldn't worry about who added the current images since everyone's goal should be to make the best article possible. -SCEhardT 20:53, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

## Donora

I've sat in on presentations where Donora-type incidents were said to have happened in New York City and in London during the 50s and 60s. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 68.19.209.172 (talkcontribs) .

For those people like me who had not heard of Donora see [5]. London's equivalent was Great Smog of 1952. As for NY there is nothing mentioned in Timeline_of_New_York_City_crimes_and_disasters#20th_century but I am sure smog was a problem and remains (albeit now photochemical not winter).--NHSavage 20:15, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

There is a nice summary page of summary of historical international AQ episodes & issues (e.g. 900 BC Egypt, 61 AD Rome) and another of key US AQ episodes, including St Louis, NY, Donora and LA.--Hu Gadarn

## Clarification requests

• In the "Deaths" section, the phrases "many" and "linked to" are vague, and should be replaced with more concrete terms. -- Beland 03:11, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
• The "Indoor air pollution" has a litany of things which make it sound like practically every household object is constantly emitting deadly gases. Some context should be provided about the amount of pollution generated, the amount of ventihilation needed for safe co-existence, relative risk, etc. - - Beland 03:24, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

## Removed text

These natural radon emissions can be blocked by a layer of aluminum foil under the carpet (according to the U.S. Department of Air Quality Management).

A quick check couldn't find evidence of any such department, making the entire claim somewhat dubious. -- Beland 03:19, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

## Air pollution control systems

I think the wet scrubbers should not point to the more general scrubber page, but created a new page. This is because scrubbers are not only wet! The Vindictive 12:36, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Feel free to create such a page, but it should have much more information than what's in the current general scrubber page to justify a split. Until then, wet scrubber (and now dry scrubber, thanks) should point to the general page. --Spiffy sperry 14:36, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Will do so. Thanks. The Vindictive 08:47, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

The wet scrubber page is ready. Feel free to have a look at it. I don't know who included heat exchangers in the air pollution control technologies category? It should be removed. What do you think? The Vindictive 15:28, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

## Carbon Dioxide

I have reverted the prevous edit to include a counter-comment about CO2. It has been known for at least a century that CO2 is part of the respiration cycle in animals (see JS Haldane, Respiration, 1935 for example), and it is a vital part of photosynthesis in plant life. By any definition of "pollution", it cannot be regarded as a pollutant. Wikipedia must try to give a balanced neutral view, and not one dictated by political expediency.

Peterrhyslewis 08:53, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

There are many substances which are beneficial in some circumstances but harmful in certian places or concentrations. Ozone is helpful up in the stratosphere but unhealthy in the troposhphere. Likewise, CO2 is harmful to the climate in high concentrations, even while being a natural part of the environment in lower concentrations. That's not politics, it's science. -Will Beback · · 02:21, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

The case against CO2 being harmful at 0.038% concentration is unproven. By the same argument, water can also be "harmful" snce you can drown in the liquid. Thats the science and the reality. Most people would not think of water being a pollutant, or being harmful. I do not see CO2 being classified as a "pollutant" in any of the sub-sections of the article where various national policies are discussed.Peterrhyslewis 09:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
CO2 is a greenhouse gas, not a pollutant. The Vindictive 19:01, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that CO2 is a pollutant, and must be regulated by the EPA. The greenhouse effect is one negative impact which qualifies it as a pollutant rather than a neutral or beneficial byproduct. -- Beland 00:05, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
The US Court does not define science, it might politically be a "pollutant" so that it can be regulated. But scientifically CO2 doesn't seem to be a pollutant (It is always here and harmless) Unamed102 (talk) 16:48, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Harmless? Dicklyon (talk) 17:12, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

yes it harmless,but it is a green house gas. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Abhiramreddy005 (talkcontribs) 00:37, 12 August 2010 (UTC)