What Are The Causes And Effects Of Smog?


What really is smog? Smog has been defined as a combination of air pollutants, unstable organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides, which mix together with sunlight creating the ozone. The ozone can be viewed as dangerous or beneficial, bad or good, all pending on the location. The stratosphere miles above the Earth is the location of the ozone layer, and it acts as a protective shield for human health and the earth’s environment from extreme amounts of solar ultraviolet radiation. This is what would be considered the good kind of ozone. On the contrary, ozone at the surface level, which is ensnared close to the ground via heat transposals or several other weather conditions, is the reason there are respiratory distress and burning of the eyes connected to smog.

How Smog Got Its Name

The name smog was initially coined in the United Kingdom in the early 1900s by Dr. Henry Antoine Des Voeux as a way of describing the mixture of smoke and fog which quite frequently covered the city. During this time in history, the description by Dr des Voeux was meant at explaining the weighty utilization of coal to heat the homes of individuals and businesses and to operate the factories in Victorian England, which was a combination of sulfur dioxide and smoke.

In the present day, smog refers to a more diverse combination of varying air pollutants, nitrogen oxides, and several other chemical composites, which interrelate with the rays from the sun to create surface-level ozone which suspends similar to a heavy haze over several cities in countries that are industrialized.

How Is Smog Caused

Smog is created by a group of multifaceted photochemical reactions which involve unstable organic compounds, known as VOCs, nitrogen oxides, and rays from the sun, that produce surface-level ozone. Pollutants that form smog are generated from several sources such as factories, power plants, automobile exhaust, and several other consumer products, which include foam plastic products such as disposable cups, chemical solvents, and starter fluid made of charcoal, hairspray, and paint. It is typical to find that the precursors for smog come from boats, trucks, buses, and cars in urban areas.

The majority of occurrences of smog are quite often connected to calm winds, sunshine, high temperatures, and heavy vehicular traffic. As it relates to the severity and location of the smog, the geography and weather are what impacts these, due to the fact that the temperature controls the duration of time the smog takes to develop, as smog has a tendency to form faster and behave more rigorous on days that are sunny and hot.

When the warm air remains close to the surface of the earth rather than rising, referred to as temperature inversions, along with clam winds, smog might stay trapped hanging over cities for days, and as sources of air pollutants such as traffic continue to add to the smog, it gets worse. What is ironic is that smog is habitually quite severe as it increasing the distance between it and the source of the pollution, due to the fact that the chemical responses which result in the smog happen within the atmosphere as pollutants are traveling via the wind.

Where Does Smog Occur?

Surface level ozone and severe smog issues occur in several cities all over the world, from Beijing to Mexico City, and even India. In America, smog impacts a good large section of California, ranging from San Diego to San Francisco, from the mid-Atlantic seaboard from southern Maine to Washington DC, and major cities in the Midwest and South.

To fluctuating degrees, many of the cities in the United States that have populations in excess of 250,000 experience issues with surface-level ozone and smog. According to several research papers, more than fifty percent of all United States inhabitants live in regions that have so much severe smog, that levels of pollution frequently surpass safety standards that are established out by the United States EPA or Environmental Protection Agency.

What Are The Effects Of Smog?

The chemical makeup of smog has the potential to compromise the health of individuals, the environment could become damaged and could even result in damage to property. Smog has the capacity to aggravate or even cause health issues such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and many other respiratory issues so too as irritation of the eyes and decreased resistance to lung infections and colds. The ozone found in smog could also impede the growth of plants and could result in extensive damage to forests and crops.

Who Is More Susceptible To Smog

Everyone that may participate in strenuous activities outdoors, ranging from manual labor to jogging, might begin to suffer from smog-associated health problems. Physical activity results in individuals breathing faster and heavier, exposing the lungs to additional ozone chemicals and other pollutants. Below are the four main groups of individuals that are specifically susceptible to ozone chemicals and other pollutants found in smog.

Children – Children that are active have the highest chance of developing issues due to smog exposure, as children tend to spend the majority of their time outside playing. Children, as a grouping, are times more susceptible to asthma, which is the most typical chronic ailments for children, and additional respiratory illnesses than adults. Adults who are active outdoors – Adults, regardless of age that is healthy, who work or exercise outdoors on a regular basis are thought of to be at greater risk from being exposed to smog. Individuals with respiratory diseases – Individuals that suffer from several chronic respiratory diseases including asthma are more susceptible to the impact of ozone. Normally, they will have adverse reactions manifest a lot earlier and at much lesser levels of exposure than persons who have less sensitivity. Individuals with rare susceptibility to ozone – There are those otherwise healthy individuals that just display more sensitivity to the chemical contaminants in smog than others and might experience additional adverse health issues due to exposure.

During days that are heavy with smog, the elderly are typically encouraged to remain indoors. Older individuals are not probably at any greater risk of adverse health effects from smog due to their age. However, the elderly individuals will be at a greater risk due to smog exposure if they before now are active outdoors, suffered from respiratory illnesses, or are uniquely predisposed to ozone.