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first layer of the atmosphere containing about 80 percent of the atmosphere, consists of weather, civilizian, etc


second atmospheric layer, about 13 miles away. consists of ozone layer which is the earths sunscreen

ozone layer

layer that blocks about 97 percent of the sun out. 13 miles away from our atmosphere

primary pollutant

chemicals and pollutants are directly emitted in the air

secondary pollutant

chemicals in the air react and form a new pollutant

carbon monoxide

colorless, tasteless, odorless toxic gas. CO

carbon dioxide

gas existing in earth, everywhere. we breathe it out. CO2

nitrogen oxide

compound of oxygen and nitrogen

nitric acid

colorless, highly corrosive, toxic acid. used for explosives, fertilizers etc

sulfur oxide

chemical compound produced mostly by volcanoes, found in coal and petroleum

sulfuric acid

clear, colorless, odorless corrosive liquid used in many things including alcohols, plastics, rubber, paints, etc

suspended particulate matter

particles suspended in the air (organic, inorganic, solid, liquid etc). most harmful types are fine and ultra fine

ozone (pollutant)

ozone is bad in troposphere. causes asthma and other problems in children. damages trees and crops

volatile organic compound

emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. concentrations of VOCs are up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors. includes variety of chemicals that have adverse health affects.


simplest organic compound containing hydrogen and carbon

radon 222

-comes a problem in confined spaces and underground wells over radon deposits. uranium is source of radium and radium is source of radon. said to be second leading cause of lung cancer

industrial smog

-bigger problem during winter. consists mostly of sulfur dioxide, suspended droplets of sulfuric acid, and suspended solid particles.

photochemical smog

-mixture of primary and secondary pollutants formed under UV radiation from sun

grasshopper effect

toxic pollutants released thousands of miles to the south evaporate in the warm climate, riding winds until they reach cold air of the arctic where they fall to the earth

temperature inversion

when a layer of cold air sits on top of a layer of warm air, not letting the warm air go up

acid deposition

combination of acidic particles that fall to the earth. could be wet (rain, snow, mist, fog) or dry (just dry particles). can be caused naturally (lightening, volcano etc) or by people (fuel combustion, smoke stacks). stays for up to 14 minutes in the sky before it falls to the earth so it gets spread, global problem not local

sick building syndrome

describe when building occupants experience acute health effects linked to time spent in a building without identifying specific illness or causes, result of bad air pollution. symptoms include dry skin, diziness, throat irritation, headache, fatigue, etc


used in building construction and fire retardant. naturally occuring fibrous minerals. increase risk of lung disease since the fibers can be breathed in.


chemical used in building materials and household products. can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in eyes and throat, and difficulty breathing


disease of lungs that cause breathing problems

clean air act

law that defines EPA's responsibility for protecting and improving the nations air quality and stratospheric ozone layer.

national ambient air quality standards

requires periodic review of things that need to be limited and such. carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide


hazardous air pollutants that can cause adverse health effects to human health or environment

toxic release inventory

databse containing info on toxic chemical release and other waste management activities

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