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Air Pollution

What is air pollution?

Air pollution is when harmful substances are in the air that we breathe. National agencies and organizations report the following:

  • Air pollution comes from many sources. Some of these include industrial operations, stationary fuel combustion, highway vehicles, and nonroad mobile sources (aircraft, trains, and boats). These sources emit pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, and particulate matter.

  • Nearly 5 out of 10 Americans live in areas of unhealthy levels of ozone (smog) or particle pollution (soot). The most vulnerable people are infants, children, older adults, and those living with chronic lung disease such as asthma and COPD.

The health effects of air pollution are many. Air pollution levels are tied to increased respiratory health problems. This includes asthma. They are also linked to premature death, cancer, and long-term damage to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Healthy People 2020 identifies 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans.

Preventing air pollution is a major project of public health and environmental agencies.