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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Environmental Science
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Air Pollution

  • Air pollutions has existed since the origin of mankind, and its sources have two major categories: stationary (point, fugitive, and area sources) and mobile sources
  • Air pollution affects vegetation, animals, soils, water quality, natural/artificial structures, human health, and visibility. Its effects on humans include: cancer, birth defects, eye/respiratory irritation, heart disease, and emphysema (equaling $50 billion per year in health costs.) Also, synergistic effects make it worse
  • Pollutants recognized by the EPA are primary or secondary, and they are classified as particulate matter or gaseous
  • The six most common pollutants (criteria pollutants) are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter, and lead
  • Acid rain occurs when precipitation interacts with the air pollutants sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. It affects forests, water, and human life
  • Air toxics are pollutants known (or suspected) to cause cancer (for example, hydrogen sulfide, mercury, and benzene)
  • Air pollution varies by from place to place, and it can vary with the time of the year. Urban air pollution is either photochemical or sulfurous smog, and the health risks of breathing urban air are drastically higher than in rural areas
  • Ways to control air pollution: settling chambers, catalytic converters, scrubbing, and more legislation
  • High altitude depletion (ozone depletion) has a lot to do with the entrance of chlorine into the atmosphere (as in CFCs.) There is a large hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica, but it has stopped growing and is patching itself up gradually thanks to legislation banning the use/release of CFCs. Polar stratospheric clouds can greatly impact the ozone layer. The environmental affects of less ozone are costly: more UV radiation penetrating through can damage food chains and lead to more cancer incidence
  • Indoor air pollution is a major problem. Sources include: heating units, furnaces, furniture, carpets, electronic devices, garbage containers, cleaning products, mold, etc.
  • Radon gas is a natural toxin that can lead to major illness or death depending on the level of exposure. Buildings can be declared “sick” because of major pollutants such as radon. In the future greater measures must be taken to control and monitor indoor air pollution

Air Pollution

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  1. Intro
    • Air Pollution Overview
    • General Effects of Air Pollutants
    • Major Air Pollutants
    • Criteria Pollutants
    • Acid Rain
    • Air Toxics
    • Air Pollution Variability
    • Urban Air Pollution
    • Controlling Pollutants and Quality Standards
    • High Altitude Depletion
    • Indoor Air Pollution Intro
    • Some Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
    • More on Indoor Pollution
    • Controlling Indoor Air Pollution
    • Intro 0:00
    • Air Pollution Overview 0:05
      • People Have Recognized the Problem for a Long Time Now
      • Stationary Sources
      • Mobile Sources
    • General Effects of Air Pollutants 3:39
      • Affects Vegetation, Animals, Soils, Water Quality, Natural/ Art Structures, Human Health, and Visibility
      • Major Factor in the Death Rate in Large Cities
      • Effects on Humans
      • Synergistic Effects
    • Major Air Pollutants 7:24
      • Primary Pollutants
      • Secondary Pollutants
      • Primary Pollutants That Account for Most of the Problems
    • Criteria Pollutants 11:08
      • Sulfur Dioxide
      • Nitrogen Oxides
      • Carbon Monoxide
      • Ozone
      • Particulate Matter
      • Lead
    • Acid Rain 23:41
      • Precipitation Lower than 5.6pH
      • Determining the Effects of Acid Rain
      • Effects: Forests, Water, Humans
      • How to Control it
    • Air Toxics 33:02
      • H2S
      • HF
      • Hg
      • VOCs
      • C2H3NO
      • C6H6
      • CH2CHCHO
    • Air Pollution Variability 40:11
      • Varies from Place to Place
      • Varies with Time of Year
      • Haze from Afar
    • Urban Air Pollution 44:44
      • Photochemical Smog
      • Sulfurous Smog
      • Primary Adverse Effects
    • Controlling Pollutants and Quality Standards 50:43
      • Preventing Entrance into Atmosphere
      • Air Pollution Legislation
    • High Altitude Depletion 56:55
      • Ozone Depletion is a Major Concern
      • Ozone Shield
      • Ozone Depletion
      • Antarctic Ozone Hole
      • Pole Stratospheric Clouds
      • Environmental Effects
      • The Future of Ozone Depletion
    • Indoor Air Pollution Intro 1:10:15
      • 70-90% Enclosed in Space
      • Coal Miners' Disease
      • One of the Biggest Hazards in Modern Workspace
      • Hurricane Katrina
      • Sources
    • Some Sources of Indoor Air Pollution 1:13:44
      • Heating, Ventilation
      • Furniture and Carpets
      • Machines, Computers, Printers
      • Pesticides
      • Indoor Smoking
      • Chemicals Used in Building Construction
      • Garbage Containers and Vehicle Exhaust
      • Cleaning Products
      • Dust Mites and Molds
      • Pollen
    • More on Indoor Pollution 1:16:48
      • Chimney Effect
      • Heating, Ventilation
      • Environmental Tobacco Smoke
      • Radon Gas
      • 'Sick Buildings'
    • Controlling Indoor Air Pollution 1:25:04
      • Make Homes/ Buildings Radon Resistant
      • Building Design