Toxic Air Pollutants: Things You Need to Know


Toxic air pollutants comprise poisonous substances found in the air. These substances emanate from various sources which are either natural such as radon gas that comes from the ground or manmade like the industrial gases containing chemical compounds released to the atmosphere. If not well contained, this can pose serious health problems to the living creatures through inhalation of contaminated air. Gases like benzene may lead to leukemia when inhaled and it is here the need to reduce the possibility of contamination comes into play.

Risk Assessment

It is the process used to estimate the increased risk of health problems to people who are prone to exposure to different amount of toxic substances. For toxic air pollutants, it combines the results on the health effects of various animal and human exposures to the pollutants with the results of studies that estimate the level of people’s exposures at different distances from the source of pollutant.

Hazard Identification

Toxic air pollutants cause serious health problems to human and other living things. It may lead to diseases such as cancer, respiratory irritation, nervous system problems and also birth defects. Some health problems are experienced immediately after inhalation of the toxic pollutants such as watery eyes; others may take time but can be more serious like permanent lung damage. It is therefore important to take an insurance cover through ehic application which can be done online or through a certified insurance company.

Exposure Assessment

This is an estimate of how much of a pollutant people inhale in a specific period of time and how many people are exposed to the danger. The first step in an exposure assessment is to decide which sources are giving off the pollutant of concern. Once this has been identified, the next step is to determine the amount of the toxic air pollutant released in a specific time period. The number of people exposed at different distances from the site of release can be estimated with computer models that use information from the census and from maps. The final step in an exposure assessment is to estimate the amounts each person inhales, to do this, estimates of breathing rates and life span of an average person are combined with the estimates of the amount of pollutant in the surrounding area.

Dose Response Assessment

It is a measure of how toxic air pollutants move through the body, these pollutants enter the body through breathing; they can also be ingested or absorbed through the skin. Once in the body, a pollutant can stay in the lungs, be exhaled or move into the blood from the lungs. In the blood, it is carried to all parts of the body and as it moves around the body it can undergo chemical changes, especially as it passes through the liver thus becoming less, or more toxic.

Risk Characterization

This illustrates how individuals or population may be affected. It includes; maximum individual cancer risk, distribution of individual risks since many people may be exposed to less than the maximum level, population cancer risk and non-cancer risks which refer to population risks that will not cause significant risks for non-cancer health effects.

Conducting risk assessment is an important step in curbing the effects of toxic substances to a nations health strategies, it is a factor that cannot be ignored and hence should be put into consideration.

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Mathew Wiliams wrote this article

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