Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3. The highly reactive colourless gas is one of the main sources of nitrogen pollution, alongside nitrogen oxides.
Man-made sources of Ammonia include fertilisers, power plants and catalytic converters in petrol cars.
Risks: Irritating to the eyes, respiratory tract and skin, acidification of soil and water, direct toxic damage to leaves.
Ozone (O3) is a harmful air pollutant and the main ingredient of smog.
Ground-level Ozone occurs when pollutants are emitted by cars, power plants, chemical plants and other sources chemically react in the presence of sunlight.
Strong respiratory effects
Benzene (C6H6) is a colourless, flammable liquid with a sweet odour - it is partially responsible for the aroma around petrol stations.
People can be exposued to Benzene from fuel exhaust, factory emissions and water waste from certain industries.
Damage of the lung, Carcinogenic
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a colourless, pungent smelling, water-soluble gas that affects people and the environment. Sulphate particles produced in the atmosphere from sulphur dioxide also contribute to exposure to particulate matter (PM10).
It is mainly produced by combustion processes of fossil power plants such as coal and oil by oxidation of the sulphur contained in the fuel.
Short-term exposure: drowsiness, dizziness, headaches and unconsciousness.
Long-term exposure: cancer, including Leukemia and other cancers of blood cells.
A benzopyrene is an organic compound with the formula C20H12. It is released into the environment when combustion of organic material such as wood or coal is incomplete. Main emittants are residential and commercial heating and open fire cooking, as well as transportation.
People can be exposed to benzo(a)pyrene exposion by breathing contamined air, having contact with polluted soil or water as well as consuming drinks and food like grilled or charred meats.
Strong respiratory effects, Acidification of soil and water
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and toxic gas, which is predominantly produced by incomplete combustion of carbon-containing materials.
Main source for CO is vehicle exhausts, but fuel burning furnaces, coal burning power plants, gasoline-powered generators, fire places, charcoal grills, propane-, gas- or kerosene-powered heaters are also emittants.
Strong respiratory poison, Effect on central nerve system
Metals are mostly attached to dust particles in the air. Inhalation of this dust creates a health risk, because some substances such as arsenic, cadmium or nickel are carcinogenic.
Anthropogenic sources consist of fossil fuel combustion products, industrial process, wood stove burning and cigarette smoking. In urban areas the main source are motor vehicles.
Symptoms differ within metals, e.g. Toxic effects on Respiratory and Cardiovascular system, Carcinogenic
Black Carbon is a potent climate-warming component of particulate matter and what most people would describe as 'soot'.
In the atmosphere it can absorb more than one-million times more energy than CO2. It affects not only human health, but also visibility, ecosysystems and exacerbates global warming.
This particulate matter is primarily produced by diesel engines, cooking stoves or wood burnings.
Respiratory and cardiovascular effects, Carcinogenic
Oxides of nitrogen are a mixture of gases that are composed of nitrogen and oxygen. NOx is a generic term for the nitrogen oxides that are most relevant for air pollution, namely nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
NOx are byproducts of combustion processes, like they happen in transportation, power generation, industrial processing, and heating. It is estimated that 54% of the human-caused NOx comes from transportation.
Strong respiratory effects
Particulate matter (PM10) is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 µm. Many are hazardous.
Particulate matter can originate from energy supply and industrial processes, metal and steel production as well as the reloading of bulk material or it can be of natural origin, for example as a result of soil erosion. In urban areas road traffic is the dominant source.
Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases