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From Wikipedia


A pollutant is a waste material that pollutes air, water or soil, and is the cause of pollution.

Three factors determine the severity of a pollutant: its chemical nature, its concentration and its persistence. Some pollutants are biodegradable and therefore will not persist in the environment in the long term. However the degradation products of some pollutants are themselves polluting such as the products DDE and DDD produced from degradation of DDT

Types of pollutants

Stock pollutants

Pollutants that the environment has little or no absorptive capacity are called stock pollutants (e.g. persistent synthetic chemicals, non-biodegradable plastics, and heavy metals). Stock pollutants accumulate in the environment over time. The damage they cause increases as more pollutant is emitted, and persists as the pollutant accumulates. Stock pollutants can create a burden for future generations by passing on damage that persists well after the benefits received from incurring that damage have been forgotten.

Fund pollutants

Fund pollutants are those for which the environment has some absorptive capacity. Fund pollutants do not cause damage to the environment unless the emission rate exceeds the receiving environment's absorptive capacity (e.g. carbon dioxide, which is absorbed by plants and oceans). Fund pollutants are not destroyed, but rather converted into less harmful substances, or diluted/dispersed to non-harmful concentrations.

Notable pollutants

Notable pollutants include the following groups:

Zones of influence

Pollutants can also be defined by their zones of influence, both horizontally and vertically.

Horizontal zone

The horizontal zone refers to the area that is damaged by a pollutant. Local pollutants cause damage near the emission source. Regional pollutants cause damage further from the emission source.

Vertical zone

The vertical zone is referred to whether the damage is ground-level or atmospheric. Surface pollutants cause damage by concentrations of the pollutant accumulating near the Earth's surface Global pollutants cause damage by concentrations in the atmosphere



Pollutants can cross international borders and therefore international regulations are needed for their control. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which entered into force in 2004, is an international legally binding agreement for the control of persistent organic pollutants. Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR) are systems to collect and disseminate information on environmental releases and transfers of toxic chemicals from industrial and other facilities.

European Union

The European Pollutant Emission Register is a type of PRTR providing access to information on the annual emissions of industrial facilities in the Member States of the European Union, as well as Norway.

United States

Clean Air Act standards. Under the Clean Air Act, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are standards developed for outdoor air quality. The National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants are emission standards that are set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which are not covered by the NAAQS.

Clean Water Act standards. Under the Clean Water Act, EPA promulgated national standards for municipal sewage treatment plants, also called publicly owned treatment works, in the Secondary Treatment Regulation. National standards for industrial dischargers are calledEffluent guidelines(for existing sources) andNew Source Performance Standards, and currently cover over 50 industrial categories. In addition, the Act requires states to publish water quality standards for individual water bodies to provide additional protection where the national standards are insufficient.

RCRA standards. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates the management, transport and disposal of municipal solid waste, hazardous waste and <

From Encyclopedia

Attenuation of Pollutants Attenuation of Pollutants

The moment that pollutants in soils become dissolved in natural waters, their potential for transport is greatly magnified, as is the likelihood that people will ingest them. The primary health risk from many hazardous waste sites, dumps, septic tanks, factory outflows, and other pollution sources is the possibility that pollutants will be dissolved into groundwaters or surface waters, then ultimately reach drinking water. Pollutants of concern include industrial solvents such as perchlorethlyene (PCE); trichlorethylene (TCE); motor fuel components such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, (collectively termed BTEX); and inorganic contaminants such as lead, chromate, arsenic, and nitrate. Just as each contaminant tends to affect specific organs in the human body depending on its chemistry, the behavior of contaminants in groundwaters and surface waters likewise varies from contaminant to contaminant. Rarely do chemicals behave identically in natural waters; typically there is at least one natural reaction that causes the bioavailability of a given contaminant to decrease, or attenuate, over time. These attenuation reactions include the following. Contaminant attenuation can be split into two components. Organic contaminants are made up of electron-rich molecules containing linked carbon atoms. Soil microorganisms can derive energy by using oxygen, sulfate, nitrate, or ferrous iron to oxidize and break these chains down into carbon dioxide plus water. Often this breakdown is more rapid than engineered remediation. Rapid microbial attenuation is often observed for fuel hydrocarbons such as are found beneath leaking underground fuel tanks. Attenuation tends to be most rapid under oxidizing (aerobic ) conditions that often prevail in loose soils. In oxygen-poor (anaerobic ) waters, attenuation tends to be slower. PCE and TCE are two of the most common contaminants at hazardous waste sites. They are quite toxic and also tend to resist chemical attenuation. Microorganisms are only able to rapidly attenuate them by first reducing them under anaerobic conditions, and then oxidizing them under aerobic conditions. Obviously the potential for PCE or TCE attenuation hinges upon the chemical condition of the aquifer or soil. Chemical attenuation of inorganic contaminants such as lead, chromate, nitrate, and arsenic often involves sorption onto mineral surfaces. Microorganisms generally cannot break down such contaminants into less toxic compounds except in a few cases. Most notably, microorganisms are able to reduce oxidized (and toxic) chromate to insoluble and less toxic trivalent chromium. Likewise, microorganisms can convert nitrate to ammonia and/or nitrogen gas. Most other inorganic contaminants must be sorbed to mineral surfaces to be attenuated. Soil and aquifer solids tend to be negatively charged because of broken or unsatisfied bonds that exist at their surfaces. This negative charge that exists at mineral surfaces pulls oppositely charged cations from solution. Many dissolved metals exist as positively charged cations in natural waters and are hence attracted to, and attenuated at, mineral surfaces. This is particularly true for such industrial metals as lead, cadmium, zinc, and nickel. It is also true for such important radionuclides that are present in radioactive waste as 90Sr, 137Cs, and isotopes of Pu (plutonium) and U (uranium). Chromate and arsenate sorb appreciably to many soil minerals despite the overall negative charge of both partners. Inorganic contaminants that initially sorb onto mineral surfaces from a contaminant-rich solution might in theory "desorb" back into contaminantpoor waters recharging a contaminated aquifer after the contaminant source has been removed. In fact, numerous field observations suggest that many sorbed contaminants become permanently sequestered after prolonged interaction with mineral surfaces. In other words, sorbed contaminants are taken up into mineral lattices (structures) where they are no longer bioavailable. Mineral uptake also makes the complete engineered removal of contaminants from soils and aquifers nearly impossible. In effect, the crystal lattices must be destroyed to remove the bound contaminants. Pollutant attenuation is most commonly taken advantage of in the treatment of sewage; that is, oxidation of organic matter is hastened by mixing on-site or by discharging into surface waters that have sufficient capacity to rapidly attenuate the imposed pollutant load. Increasingly, pollutant attenuation, or equivalently "monitored natural attenuation" or MNA, is being used as a component of hazardous waste site cleanups. Specifically, MNA is relied upon to remove contaminants from groundwaters, in parallel to and, after active remediation has ceased. Bioremediation of contaminated sites typically involves the engineered acceleration of natural organic activity that leads to the breakdown of organic contaminants—most commonly spilled fuels and solvents—ultimately to carbon dioxide. Less common is the introduction of new organisms, themselves, to contaminated sites. Natural soil organic activity tends to be sufficiently pervasive that, given the appropriate nutrients, breakdown of contaminants can be achieved by native populations of microorganisms. Nutrient additions may include oxygen, a carbon substrate such as molasses, and/or hydrogen. It must be noted that not all contaminants attenuate rapidly enough to prevent potential impacts on human health. Instead, knowledge of attenuation rates and capacities is critical to the successful implementation of pollutant attenuation in either realm. Each area remains the subject of intense investigation by chemists, biologists, geochemists, engineers, and other scientists. see also Fresh Water, Natural Composition of; Fresh Water, Physics and Chemistry of; Groundwater; Modeling Groundwater Flow and Transport; Modeling Stream Flow and Quality; Pollution of Groundwater; Pollution of Lakes and Streams; Radioactive Chemicals; Septic System Impacts; Wastewater Treatment and Management. Patrick V. Brady Brady, Patrick V., Michael V. Brady, and David J. Borns. Natural Attenuation: CERCLA, RBCAs, and the Future of Environmental Remediation. Boca Raton, FL: Lewis Publishers, 1997. Rice, David W. et al. "Recommendations to Improve the Cleanup Process for California's Leaking Underground Fuel Tanks." In Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Report. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, CA: 1995.

From Yahoo Answers

Question:what are the different types of air pollution and how is it measured?

Answers:what causes air pollution is when a a power station uses coal to make electricity. when the coal is burned it releases Nox and Sox ( nitrus oxide, and sulphur oxide) into the atmosphere. This cause air pollution and acid rain. air pollution can be meased by a carbon menoxide measurer, or even by the amount of weathering on statues due to acid rain.

Question:What can you tell me? Are there any good websites about this? What about solutions to this? I have a project and can't really find anything. Thanks so much. Mickey

Answers:no, factories do not make pollution, you do. If you don't buy goods from a factory, then the factory would not be there. People want to dodge the blame, but all pollution is shared by all. SO, if you believe in sharing, then its your pollution.

Question:i hav got my chemistry project... its air pollution... can sumone plss tell me what all contents shud it hav (related to chemistry too) and then everybody in the class wud be referring internet for their information... plss can sum one tell me good books where i can find more about this and good links too tht my frndss cant reach to... thnxxx

Answers:Introduction - When people think about air pollution, they usually think about smog, acid rain, CFC's, and other forms of outdoor air pollution. But did you know that air pollution also can exist inside homes and other buildings? It can, and every year, the health of many people is affected by chemical substances present in the air within buildings. A great deal of research on pollution is being conducted at laboratories and universities. The goals of the research are to find solutions and to educate the public about the problem. Two places where this type of work is being done are LBNL and the University of California, Berkeley. Let's take a closer look at the various types of air pollution, the effects that they have on people, and what is being (or not being) done to correct the problem. What is Air Pollution?- Air is the ocean we breathe. Air supplies us with oxygen which is essential for our bodies to live. Air is 99.9% nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and inert gases. Human activities can release substances into the air, some of which can cause problems for humans, plants, and animals. There are several main types of pollution and well-known effects of pollution which are commonly discussed. These include smog, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, and "holes" in the ozone layer. Each of these problems has serious implications for our health and well-being as well as for the whole environment. One type of air pollution is the release of particles into the air from burning fuel for energy. Diesel smoke is a good example of this particulate matter . The particles are very small pieces of matter measuring about 2.5 microns or about .0001 inches. This type of pollution is sometimes referred to as "black carbon" pollution. The exhaust from burning fuels in automobiles, homes, and industries is a major source of pollution in the air. Some authorities believe that even the burning of wood and charcoal in fireplaces and barbeques can release significant quanitites of soot into the air. Another type of pollution is the release of noxious gases, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and chemical vapors. These can take part in further chemical reactions once they are in the atmosphere, forming smog and acid rain. Pollution also needs to be considered inside our homes, offices, and schools. Some of these pollutants can be created by indoor activities such as smoking and cooking. In the United States, we spend about 80-90% of our time inside buildings, and so our exposure to harmful indoor pollutants can be serious. It is therefore important to consider both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Outdoor Air Pollution- Smog is a type of large-scale outdoor pollution. It is caused by chemical reactions between pollutants derived from different sources, primarily automobile exhaust and industrial emissions. Cities are often centers of these types of activities, and many suffer from the effects of smog, especially during the warm months of the year. Additional information about smog and its effects are available from Environment Canada and the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) in southern California. For each city, the exact causes of pollution may be different. Depending on the geographical location, temperature, wind and weather factors, pollution is dispersed differently. However, sometimes this does not happen and the pollution can build up to dangerous levels. A temperature inversion occurs when air close to the earth is cooler than the air above it. Under these conditions the pollution cannot rise and be dispersed. Cities surrounded by mountains also experience trapping of pollution. Inversion can happen in any season. Winter inversions are likely to cause particulate and cabon monoxide pollution. Summer inversions are more likely to create smog. Another consequence of outdoor air pollution is acid rain. When a pollutant, such as sulfuric acid combines with droplets of water in the air, the water (or snow) can become acidified . The effects of acid rain on the environment can be very serious. It damages plants by destroying their leaves, it poisons the soil, and it changes the chemistry of lakes and streams. Damage due to acid rain kills trees and harms animals, fish, and other wildlife. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Environment Canada are among the organizations that are actively studying the acid rain problem. The Greenhouse Effect, also referred to as global warming, is generally believed to come from the build up of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is produced when fuels are burned. Plants convert carbon dioxide back to oxygen, but the release of carbon dioxide from human activities is higher than the world's plants can process. The situation is made worse since many of the earth's forests are being removed, and plant life is being damaged by acid rain. Thus, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is continuing to increase. This buildup acts like a blanket and traps heat close to the surface of our earth. Changes of even a few degrees will affect us all through changes in the climate and even the possibility that the polar ice caps may melt. (One of the consequences of polar ice cap melting would be a rise in global sea level, resulting in widespread coastal flooding.) Additional resources and information about the Greenhouse Effect and global warming are available from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Science Education Academy of the Bay Area (SEABA) and the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). Ozone depletion is another result of pollution. Chemicals released by our activities affect the stratosphere , one of the atmospheric layers surrounding earth. The ozone layer in the stratosphere protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) from aerosol cans, cooling systems and refrigerator equipment removes some of the ozone, causing "holes"; to open up in this layer and allowing the radiation to reach the earth. Ultraviolet radiation is known to cause skin cancer and has damaging effects on plants and wildlife. Additional resources and information about the ozone depletion problem are available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Ozone ACTION. Indoor Air Pollution- Many people spend large portion of time indoors - as much as 80-90% of their lives. We work, study, eat, drink and sleep in enclosed environments where air circulation may be restricted. For these reasons, some experts feel that more people suffer from the effects of indoor air pollution than outdoor pollution. There are many sources of indoor air pollution. Tobacco smoke, cooking and heating appliances, and vapors from building materials, paints, furniture, etc. cause pollution inside buildings. Radon is a natural radioactive gas released from the earth, and it can be found concentrated in basements in some parts of the United States. Additional information about the radon problem is available from the USGS and the Minnesota Radon Project. Pollution exposure at home and work is often greater than outdoors. The California Air Resources Board estimates that indoor air pollutant levels are 25-62% greater than outside levels and can pose serious health problems. Both indoor and outdoor pollution need to be controlled and/or prevented. How can we prevent the damaging effects of air pollution? How can air pollution hurt my health? Health Effects- Air pollution can affect our health in many ways with both short-term and long-term effects. Different groups of individuals are affected by air pollution in different ways. Some individuals are much more sensitive to pollutants than are others. Young children and elderly people often suffer more from the effects of air pollution. People with health problems such as asthma, heart and lung disease may also suffer more when the air is polluted. The extent to which an individual is harmed by air pollution usually depends on the total exposure to the damaging chemicals, i.e., the dur

Question:Can anyone tell me what are the: 1. Causes of air pollution 2. Effects of air pollution 3. Preventions of air pollution 4. Why should we prevent air pollution? Thanks for your answer :)

Answers:We had the option in the 1980's to fit filters onto chimneys on power stations but we didn't... From burning coal we get acid rain (destroying leaves on trees). Combusting petrol in car engines etc., (pollution) linked to serious respiratory diseases... Benzene particles in lead-free petrol are so fine they enter deep into lungs... Catalytic converters don't work... We need fresh rich oxygen to breathe. Without that, we feel tired / exausted / exhausted... Better hurry - I can feel we're fading fast...

From Youtube

What are the Causes of Air Pollution? :pollutioncontrol.free-health-care.info What are the Causes of Air Pollution? There are many different sources that can be sited as causing air pollution, and they all fall into two different categories. These two categories are natural sources and human sources. The first category, natural causes of air pollution, can not be controlled by us. wildfires These causes include things like smoke that comes from wildfires, which as you know we cant control. Wildfires are a necessary part of life and nature takes these measures to renew an area of land naturally. Another natural source would be volcanoes, which put sulfur and ash out into the air as perform their typical activities. You might not ever guess this one but, methane is another natural cause of air pollution that is produced when animals digest food. cattle An example of this type you might recognize is cattle. One other, not so well known natural pollutant is dust that comes from large barren areas of land. This dust blows around polluting the air around it and anywhere the wind may take it. These causes of air pollution are all real, even though they are not as bad for your health and the environment as the ones caused by our daily activities as humans. Now that you know natural sources of air pollution are not as harmful to us, we can explore human related pollution. from human activity The second source of air pollution, which comes from human activity, is usually caused by burning different types of fuel we need ...

Air Pollution Causes Asthma :