34 terms

Environmental Science for AP - Friedland and Relyea Chapter 15


Terms in this set (...)

Air pollution
Introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or microorganisms into the atmosphere at concentrations high enough to harm plants, animals, materials, or alter ecosystems.
Clean Air Act
(RN), 1970 reaction to Rachel Carson in her 1962 in Silent Spring, It describes one of a number of pieces of legislation relating to the reduction of smog and air pollution in general. The legislation forced the country to enforce clean air standards to improve health and showed that American was moving towards certain environmentalist measures.
are pollution standards for six priority pollutants set by the Environmental Protection Agency through the Clean Air Act. These are Ozone, PM, SOx, NOx, CO and Lead (Pb)
Sulfur Dioxide
SOx -Comes from combustion of fuels that contain sulfur, including coal, oil, and gasoline. Respiratory irritant, can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory ailments. Can harm stomates and other plant tissue. Converts to sulfuric acid in atmosphere, which is harmful to aquatic life and some vegetation.
Nitrogen Oxides
NOx- Comes from combustion in the atmosphere including fossil fuel combustion, wood, and other biomass burning. Respiratory irritant, increases susceptibility to respiratory infection. Ozone precursor, leads to formation of photochemical smog. Converts to nitric acid in the atmosphere, which is harmful to aquatic life and some vegetation. Contributes to over fertilizing terrestrial and aquatic systems.
PM10 or PM2.5
Solid particles suspended in air. Comes from combustion of coal, oil, biofuels, and diesel. Agriculture, road construction, and other activities that mobilize soil, soot, and dust. Can exacerbate respiratory and cardiovascular disease and reduce lung function. May lead to premature death. Reduces visibility and contributes to haze and smog.
O3. Blocks UV in the Stratosphere (good), but not good in the Troposphere. Secondary pollutant formed by combination of sunlight, water, oxygen, VOCs, and NOx. Reduces lung function and exacerbates respiratory symptoms. Degrading agent to plant surfaces. Damages materials like rubber and plastic. GOOD UP HIGH, BAD NEARBY
carbon monoxide
CO- Comes from -Incomplete combustion of any kind, malfunctioning exhaust systems, and poorly ventilated cooking fires. Bonds to hemoglobin thereby interfering with oxygen transport in the bloodstream. Causes headaches in humans at low concentrations, can cause death with prolonged exposure at high concentrations.
Pb. Gas additive, oil and gas, coal, old paint. Impairs central nervous system. At low concentrations, can have measurable effects on learning and ability to concentrate. Saw the greatest decline due to NAAQS.
Chlorofluorocarbons. Man made chemicals used as coolants and propellants in aerosols. Potent greenhouse gases that also lead to depletion of the ozone layer. Phased out of use because of Kyoto Protocol Treaty.
Ozone layer hole
The ozone hole is not technically a "hole" where no ozone is present, but is actually a region of exceptionally depleted ozone in the stratosphere over the Antarctic that happens at the beginning of Southern Hemisphere spring (August-October). Lack of ozone increases UV skin cancer and changes climate/plant growth
Primary pollutants
Pollutants directly from sources. CO, CO2, SO2, NOx, VOCs, CH4
Volatile Organic Compounds. Hydrocarbons that become vapors at typical atmospheric temperatures. Evaporation of fuels, solvents, paints, improper combustion of fuels like gas. Precursor to ozone formation.
Coal, oil, gold mining. Impairs central nervous system. Bioaccumulates in the food chain.
Combustion of fossil fuels and clearing of land. Affects climate and alters ecosystems by increasing green house gas concentrations.
Reduced visibility from particulate matter.
Mixture of oxidants and particulate matter.
Photochemical Oxidants
Air pollutants formed as a result of sunlight acting on compounds such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.
Photochemical Smog
A brownish haze that is a mixture of ozone and other chemicals, formed when nitrous oxide and VOC pollutants react with each other in the presence of sunlight
Sulfurous smog
Dominated by sulfur dioxide and sulfate compounds. London type or gray smog.
Secondary Pollutants
pollutants that form from chemical reactions that occur when primary pollutants come in contact with other primary pollutants or with naturally occurring substances, such as water vapor and react using the sun as energy. These include ozone and PANS along with sulfates and nitrates.
Ground Level Ozone Formation
Ozone (O3) is a secondary pollutant that forms from the primary pollutants such as Volatile Organic Compounds (Hydrocarbons) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the presence of sunlight. Its formation is mainly from the automobile emissions.
Harmful effects of ground level Ozone
Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. It can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Ground-level ozone also can reduce lung function and inflame the linings of the lungs. Repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue
Photochemical Smog Formation
NO2 turns to NO + O transfers to O + O2 to form ozone. NO transfers to NO + VOCs to form Photochemical oxidants. Photochemical oxidants + Ozone = Photochemical smog.
Thermal inversion
phenomenon in which a warm air mass moves over and traps a cool air mass, disrupting normal air convection and trapping pollutants
Sick Building Syndrome
headaches, allergies, chronic fatigue and other symptoms caused by poorly vented indoor air contaminated by pathogens or toxins
Indoor Pollutants
Furniture, Carpets, foam insulation, pressed wood: VOCs

Tobacco Smoke: Toxic and carcinogenic compunds

Old Paint: Lead

Floor and ceiling Tiles, pipe insulation: Asbestos

Rocks and soil beneath house: Radon

Household Products, pesticides, paints, cleaning fluids: VOCs and other compounds.

Fireplaces, wood stoves: Particulate Matter

Leaky or unvented gas or wood stoves and furnaces, running cars left running: CO.
radioactive gas from decay of uranium in rocks, can lead to lung cancer
Baghouse Filter
Dirty air enters, combustion exhaust stream moves through and dust particles are trapped in a series of filter bags, cleaner and filtered air moves out of unit, shaker mechanism activated periodically to dislodge trapped particles which can then be collected from below unit.
Electrostatic Precipitator
Dirty air enters, particles in combustion exhaust stream pass by negatively charged plates which give them that charge, then these particles are attracted to positively charged collection plates, cleaner air moves out, plates are occasionally discharged so particles fall out and be removed.
Dirty air enters, combustion exhaust stream moves upward in shower of water mist, mist collects particles and brings to bottom of unit, dirty water moves to a sludge removal system, sludge is separated from water and disposed of, water moves back into scrubber for reuse, excess mist collects on screen and clean air leaves.
catalytic converter
a platinum, coated device used on the exhaust of an automobile that oxidizes most of the VOCs and some of the CO that would otherwise be emitted in exhaust, converting them to CO2.
Fluidized bed combustion
combustion process reduces the NOx and SOx emissions from coal
involves mixing crushed coal and limestone. Most of the sulfur dioxide in the coal is neutralized by the limestone. The heat generated during combustion is used to convert water to steam
cap and trade
Market-based system of pollution control whereby individual businesses can buy and sell emission credits even while the total level of industry pollution is capped at some level.

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