Stop Air Pollution

How can we prevent
the damaging effects of air pollution?


In many countries in the world, steps are being taken to stop the damage to our environment from air pollution. Scientific groups study the damaging effects on plant, animal and human life. Legislative bodies write laws to control emissions. Educators in schools and universities teach students, beginning at very young ages, about the effects of air pollution.

The first step to solving air pollution is assessment . Researchers have investigated outdoor air pollution and have developed standards for measuring the type and amount of some serious air pollutants.

Scientists must then determine how much exposure to pollutants is harmful.

Once exposure levels have been set, steps can be undertaken to reduce exposure to air pollution. These can be accomplished by regulation of man-made pollution through legislation. Many countries have set controls on pollution emissions for transportation vehicles and industry. This is usually done to through a variety of coordinating agencies which monitor the air and the environment. At the United Nations, the Atmosphere Management Program carries out world wide environmental projects. In the United States, the primary federal agency is the Environmental Protection Agency. Many state and local organizations also participate in monitoring and controlling the environment. These include the San Francisco Bay Area's Air Quality Management District (B.A.A.Q.M.D.), the Air Quality Management District in southern California, the Environmental Protection Agency of California, SmogBusters of southern California, and the Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention (GHASP).

Prevention is another key to controlling air pollution. The regulatory agencies mentioned above play an essential role in reducing and preventing air pollution in the environment.

In addition, it is possible to prevent many types of air pollution that are not regulated through personal, careful attention to our interactions with the environment. In the United States, most household products come with instructions about safe use. Additional information about product chemical safety are available in an article and a fact sheet from Enviro$en$e, and in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).

Building materials should be reviewed for potential harmful effects. Information on building materials can be found in LBNL's Center for Building Science newsletter. Additional information is available from EcoTech.

Adequate ventilation is also a key to controlling exposure to indoor air pollution. Home and work environments should be monitored for adequate air flow and proper exhaust systems installed. Additional information is available in a book titled Understanding Ventilation .

One of the most dangerous air pollutants is cigarette smoke. Restricting smoking is an important key to a healthier environment. Legislation to control smoking is in effect in some locations, but personal exposure should be monitored and limited wherever possible. Additional information about the effects of "secondhand" cigarette smoke is available from the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and Medicine On-line.

Only through the efforts of scientists, business leaders, legislators, and individuals can we reduce the amount of air pollution on the planet. This challenge must be met by all of us in order to assure that a healthy environment will exist for ourselves and our children. Find out "What you can do to reduce air pollution".

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