Air pollution contains a mixture of “smoke” and “fog” is basically Smog. It can be defined as a similar artificial fog that was produced unnaturally as a result of human activity and some unfavorable environmental conditions. Main cause of smog is mixture of contaminants and exhaust gases from human activities with air. Automobile exhaust, coal-fired power plants, and industrial pollutants all produce nitrogen oxides which is a main cause if smog. Gasoline, paints, and a variety of cleaning solvents all release Volatile Organic Compounds which combine to create smog-causing airborne particles and ground-level ozone when exposed to sunlight.
Smog effects – results of air pollution
Smog has highly obvious impacts; residents should avoid breathing filthy air and may clearly see thick smoke hanging over the city. However, effects of air pollution on human health have far-reaching, and prolonged exposure can cause:
• The onset of allergies and asthma;
• The induction of respiratory failure.
• A drop in the body’s immunity;
• The development of heart and circulation system disorders;
• The emergence of neoplastic diseases.
The effects of smog can also be felt indirectly, such as when consuming plants or meat from animals that have been exposed to it. This is due to the fact that aggressive chemical components have an impact on not only people but also animals, plants, and materials (including building materials). The impacts of air pollution can often take months to manifest, but they can also happen right away.
Major air pollutants and its effects:
Some of gases, we usually use in our daily life are seriously harming our environment. Major air pollutants and effects of air pollution on environment are as follows:
- Particulate matter (PM): Most PM gets stuck in the nose and throat and does not make it to the lungs. PM is made up of solid and liquid particles that vary in size and content. Smaller particles, known as “respirable PM,” can, however, penetrate the lungs. These minute particles have the ability to harm deep tissues. The most severe effects of PM are on the cardio-respiratory (heart-lung) system, which can lead to infections, bronchitis, emphysema, black lung, and other conditions.
- Ozone (O3): A serious health risk and severe irritant, ozone can harm the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause lung dysfunction and causes respiratory issues like coughing and wheezing. Although irritated cells are replaced a few days after exposure, the replacement is imperfect, and repeated exposure can cause lung ageing and long-term damage.
- Nitrogen oxides (NOx): NOx irritates the lungs and decreases resistance to infection, and it is responsible for both direct and indirect health impacts. Shortness of breath and coughing symptoms can develop even after a brief exposure. It indirectly contributes to the production of PM and O3.
- Sulfur dioxide (SOx): SO2 impairs lung function, causes eye discomfort, and causes shortness of breath. It can get deep inside the lungs and turns into sulfuric acid, which the body is sensitive to, when it mixes with water. Additionally, it is a significant factor in the creation of tiny PM.
- Carbon monoxide (CO): CO is a health-harming air contaminant that can be fatal in high amounts. The blood’s ability to carry oxygen is decreased as a result of its binding with hemoglobin, starving essential tissues of oxygen. High CO levels have the most of an impact on people with weakened immune systems and history of health issues.
Smog may destroy vegetation and is unhealthy for both people and animals. By altering a few habits, such as driving less, everyone can help reduce smog and protect himself. When possible, commute by walking, biking, carpooling, or taking the bus or train. Steer clear of goods that emit a lot of VOCs. Consider using low-VOC paints. Avoid using gas-powered lawnmowers and other outdoor equipment. Instead, use electric appliances.
We have polluted our earth so much that even after following all precautionary measures to prevent smog, we can’t stop it. Therefore, a lot of people are suffering from respiratory or pulmonary issues. If you get this kind of issue come to us. Shifa International Hospital is the best pulmonology hospital in Faisalabad.
Is bronchitis caused by smog?
Sputum production lasting three months or more, two years in a row, is considered to be a sign of chronic bronchitis. Dyspnea is the main complaint. When physicochemical or pathogenic substances are inhaled into the airway, bronchitis results. Bronchitis can occur as a result of environmental causes like smog. A phenotype of chronic obstructive pulmonary illness is chronic bronchitis (COPD) (Kim and Criner 2013). Chronic bronchitis in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) predicts more frequent and severe exacerbations (Burgel et al. 2009; Kim et al. 2011). Chronic bronchitis symptoms in people without COPD are associated with an increased risk of developing COPD, a decline in health-related quality of life, and a higher chance of dying from any reason.
Can smog cause lung problems?
Yes, according to study, chronic air pollution exposure may be a factor in the emergence of several lung diseases. The link between outdoor air pollution and lung cancer is well established, and asthma may also develop as a result of prolonged exposure to air pollution. The development of a child’s lungs may be impacted by prolonged exposure to air pollution, according to research. New research has also shown that children who grow up in places with high levels of pollution are more likely to acquire asthma.
Which diseases are caused by smog?
In addition to harming the environment, Smog has a negative impact on human health. Diseases brought on by air pollution include some of the most prevalent ailments worldwide. Due to the chemicals humans breathe in, air pollution can cause respiratory ailments, but it can also have an effect on other parts of the body, such as the heart.
Every year, millions of people are hospitalized and killed by illnesses brought on by air pollution. According to World Health Organization estimates, air pollution-related illnesses account for one out of every eight fatalities worldwide. More recent studies have found significant associations between indoor and outdoor air pollution and the emergence of respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. Ischemic heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and acute lower respiratory infections in children among the most widespread illnesses brought on by air pollution.
Lung cancer, which is the uncontrolled division of lung cells, is linked to air pollutants, particularly particulate matter pollution and passive smoking. Although they can develop as other illnesses as well, lower respiratory infections frequently manifest as pneumonia. Because their bodies and lungs are still developing and because they are more sensitive to soot and other pollutants than adults, children are more susceptible to acquiring acute lower respiratory tract infections.
What happens if you inhale too much smog?
Fine particulates of pollutants are present in smog that poses the greatest threat to human health and for which the strongest evidence is available. These particles have a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller. These tiny specks are 40 times smaller than the width of a human hair, undetectable to the human eye. They can seriously harm our bodies. These tiny particles can go deep within our lungs and create inflammation in the delicate tissue there. They can also enter the bloodstream and disrupt vital organs like the heart and brain.
Chronic disease and acute disease are both influenced by air pollution. Long-term exposure to air pollution is strongly associated with an increased risk of ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung and upper aero digestive cancers, unfavorable pregnancy outcomes, diabetes, and cataracts. Shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, and worsening of pre-existing diseases, such as asthma episodes, are some of the immediate health effects of exposure due to smog. A person’s response to a pollutant can be influenced by their age, any current medical disorders, other risk factors for disease, and their sensitivity to the pollutant.
The health of people can be negatively impacted by air pollution gases. When present in extremely high amounts, carbon monoxide (CO), which inhibits the delivery of oxygen to tissues, can be lethal. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions (such as asthma and COPD) are more susceptible to the health effects of Sulphur dioxide (SO 2), especially if they live and work close to SO 2 sources. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) have been associated with a variety of negative effects, including respiratory irritation, the emergence of asthma, and increased mortality. According to the Global Burden of Disease, exposure to ozone (O 3) causes respiratory conditions and was linked to 365,000 premature deaths in 2019.
How do we reduce the effects of smog?
First and foremost, requirement for smog cleaning include lessen the use of vehicles (cars, trucks, buses). Government should permit programs which must include changes to the composition of gasoline and the use of alternative fuels (such as natural gas and electricity). Everyone should use creative methods to minimize air pollution in nonattainment zones. These include prohibiting the use of charcoal grills and wood burning stoves or fireplaces when air pollution levels are high; creating initiatives to promote carpooling and voluntary “ozone actions”; limiting traffic in congested areas; requiring employers to cover employee mass transit costs; and even purchasing and using cleaner vehicles.