Air Pollution

What is air pollution?

Air pollution is when harmful substances are in the air that we breathe. National agencies and organizations report the following:

  • Air pollution comes from many sources. Some of these include industrial operations, stationary fuel combustion, highway vehicles, and non-road mobile sources (aircraft, trains, and boats). These sources emit pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, and particulate matter.

  • Nearly 5 out of 10 Americans live in areas of unhealthy levels of ozone (smog) or particle pollution (soot). Those at greatest risk are infants, children, older adults, and those living with chronic lung disease such as asthma and COPD.

The health effects of air pollution are many. It's tied to breathing problems. This includes asthma. They are also linked to early death, cancer, and long-term damage to the breathing, and heart and blood vessel systems.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2030 defines 10-year objectives for improving the health of all Americans. Preventing air pollution is a major focus of public health and environmental agencies. For more information, see

Online Medical Reviewer: Amy Finke RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2023
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