Air Pollution

Gasses and other particles in the air, such as pollen, mold, gases, car emissions, factory chemicals, and dust, cause air pollution. Air pollution can cause health problems for animals, people, and even plants. One of the biggest causes of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels.

When fossil fuels are burned, it causes chemicals and gasses to go into the air, and this is called air pollution.


 Air Pollution Facts for Kids

  • Most air pollution is made by humans
  • Gasoline in cars causes air pollution
  • Large cities around the world have bad air quality.
  • Natural sources like smoke from a forest fire and volcanic ashes and gases cause pollution.
  • Power plants burn fossil fuels which release sulfur oxides into the atmosphere
  • Whenever we use electricity it can cause air pollution.
  • Turn off the lights when you aren’t using them to keep air pollution down.
  • The Clean Air Act was passed to help people stop air pollution.
  • CFC’s can hurt the ozone layer.

What Causes Air Pollution?

Air pollution can come from sources like fossil fuel, factories, pollen, dust, mold spores, wildfires, and volcanoes.

Natural Causes of Air Pollution

Natural disasters like a volcano’s eruption can cause gases and particulates such as dust to enter the atmosphere.

Dust storms cause dust pollution.  These storms can cause homes and areas to be completely covered in dust.

Fires, such as wildfires, cause damage to trees, bushes, animals and can release methane and other gasses into the atmosphere.

Man Made Air Pollution Causes

Power plants, factories, and cars release air pollutants like carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons, and other odorless gases into the air.

Burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and petroleum products like gasoline major cause of man-made air pollution.

Aerosol cans such as deodorant, hairspray, paint, and other spray cans release methane into the air causing effects of air pollution.

How Does Air Pollution Hurt the Environment?

Along with harming human health like asthma, it can cause a variety of environmental effects.

Acid rain is one cause of air pollution, it happens when gasses like nitric and sulfuric acids are released into the atmosphere the rain comes down it is acid rain.

Sulfur dioxide is one of the gasses that are released in acid rain.

Sulfur dioxide causes thousands of premature deaths, heart disease, and respiratory problems. It can also cause hazardous ecosystem damage.

Acid rain can kill plants and animals and likely to cause water pollution.


Ozone Layer

Air pollution can cause the ozone layer to reduce.

The ozone layer helps to protect us from ultra-violet rays that come from sunlight a 1% loss in ozone is estimated to increase skin cancer cases by 5%

Ozone is a gas composed in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground level.

Tropospheric, or ground-level ozone, is a chemical reaction caused when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, oil refineries, and chemical plants chemically react in the presence of sunlight.

Global Warming

Global warming is when the environment continues to get hotter because of chemicals such as carbon dioxide that are continuously released into the atmosphere.

Some scientists believe that the Earth will keep getting hotter and have health risks on people.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal. These greenhouse gases pollute the air with carbon dioxide adding to global warming.

How Does Air Pollution Hurt People?

Air pollution can harm people.

Short Term Effects – include bronchitis and pneumonia. They also include discomforts such as irritation to the skin, eyes or nose, and throat. it can leave some people feeling dizzy, have headaches and nausea.

Long-Term Effects –  health issues like lung disease, heart disease, and respiratory diseases such as emphysema. It’s estimated that 2.5 million people die each year from the effects of air pollution.

Air Quality

The quality of the air is how air pollution is measured.  The government uses different colors to tell if you should go outside or not.  There are a total of six colors used:  green, yellow, orange, red, purple, and maroon.

When the colors are green and yellow, the air quality is okay to go outside.

When the color is orange, the air can be bad for people that are sick or have breathing problems.

When the colors are red and purple, the air is not healthy to breathe.

When the color is maroon, it is dangerous to go outside.

The Environmental Protection Agency helps to monitor air quality.


What Really Causes Air Pollution?

There are different chemicals that cause air pollution such as chlorofluorocarbons, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.

Chlorofluorocarbons are also called CFCs.  Most of these are found in aerosol cans.

Sulfur carbon causes breathing problems and acid rain.  It comes from burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

Carbon dioxide comes from fossil fuels such as oil and coal.  This is called a greenhouse gas because it releases chemicals that are bad for us.

Carbon monoxide is a gas that is clear.  This gas can get in our houses and comes from our cars.  It is important that if you are in a garage or closed area that you do not keep your car running.

Other Pollutants

A pollutant is something that gets into the air and causes pollution.

The matter that is called particulate matter is small particles such as dust that cause the air to be polluted.  This kind of pollutant can cause respiratory problems and cancer.

What Did You Learn?

  • What is air pollution?  Air pollution is chemicals that are released into the air.
  • What causes air pollution?  Cars, factories, fossil fuels, and more can cause air pollution.
  • What is air quality?  Air quality is how safe the air is to breathe.
  • What is the ozone layer?  The ozone layer helps to protect us from UV rays.
  • What is global warming?  Global warming is when the environment gets hotter because of air pollution.