Air pollution can be hazardous. There are two factors to consider:
1. How bad the air pollution is.
2. What physical conditions people have.
There are various problems that can take place. The lesser problems are: iirritation to eyes, nose and throat. Problems that are a little more serious are: upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
More serious problems of air pollution are: chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, heart disease.
Finally, kids are most susceptible.
Talking about air pollution we identify two distinct levels - local and global. Air pollution at local level affects just the people living or visiting a specific area, like a busy street with automobiles emitting very high amount of exhaust gases or a factory emitting obnoxious fumes.
Air pollution has an impact at global level also. This means that the harmful effects of the pollution is not limited to the area surrounding the source of the pollution but the entire world. Most alarming and harmful aspect of the air pollution at the global level is the global warming. This global warming in turn is the result of a phenomenon called green house effect.
Excessive release of some gases such as carbon-dioxide and nitrogen causes increase in their concentration in upper layers of atmosphere, which reduces the the ability to loose by radiation the energy it receives from sun and cool down when the sun is not shining.
As a result of the air pollution created by human industrial and other activities such as heating of houses and driving of automobiles, the average temperature of the entire globe has been rising slowly but steadily since the starting of industrial revolution. While the temperature rise so far has already caused some damage to the environment, it has now reached a critical level, where further increase will be catastrophic for the entire world. It is estimated that unless further warming of global is not halted in immediate future - that is at the most by 2050 - the ice caps in the polar regions will melt completely. Among other things, this will result in rise of levels of oceans that will submerge land areas where by 10 to 15 percent of world population lives. Besides this there will be major non-reversible damage to the flora and fauna, and make life very uncomfortable, or even unbearable, for people living in many pars of the world. The melting of the ice caps itself will be a non-reversible process. This means that bringing down of the global temperature will not result in the ice caps forming again.
Thus we can ses that the air pollution situation today is real bad and urgent.
During a respiratory act, human at rest, passes through his lungs an air quantity of 500 cm2, volume increasing more in the conduct of an exercise, being directly proportional to the effort. In 24 hours, human is breathing about 15-25 m3 of air.
By standpoint of hygiene, air affects health both through its chemical composition, as well as by its physical properties (temperature, humidity, air currents, radiation, pressure).
In terms of chemical composition,we distinguish the influence exercised on the health of variations in concentration of normal components, as well as action exercised by the presence in air, of foreign compounds.
Direct effects are the changes that occur in the health of population due to exposure to pollutants. These changes may be translated in order of gravity through: increased mortality, morbidity, emerging or changing physio-pathological symptoms, the occurrence of direct physiological changes and / or loading the body with the pollutant agent or pollutants.
Long term effects are characterized by the occurrence of pathological events after prolonged exposure to air pollutants.These effects can be the result from accumulation of pollutants in the body, in case of cumulative pollutants (Pb, F, etc..), until loading reaches the toxic threshold. Pathological changes can also be caused by repeated impacts of harmful agents to certain organs or systems. Long-term effects occur after long periods of exposure that may be years or even decades.
Pathological manifestations can take specific aspects of pollutants (chronic poisoning, allergic phenomena, carcinogenic effects, mutagenic and teratogenic) or can be characterized by the occurrence of diseases where multiple pollutants represent one of the determinants or aggravating etiological agents (acute respiratory illness and chronic anemia, etc.).