Diesel, formaldehyde, benzene, particulate matter, and ground level ozone are probably the top 5 most dangerous pollutants.
Smelly diesel exhaust is a mix of more than 40 toxic pollutants that have been linked to cancer, asthma and an estimated 21,000 premature deaths across the U.S. every year. Hot spots for the pollutant are in place such as truck depots, bus terminals, ports, construction sites and busy roads and highways.
Benzene is used in motor fuels, solvents, detergents and pesticides; benzene is a carcinogen that causes leukemia and other illness. Virtually the entire U.S. population is exposed to benzene in small amounts — gasoline, diesel exhaust and cigarette smoke are all sources of benzene.
Ground level ozone is basically smog. But in the stratosphere ozone forming can be found, which serves as a protective layer blocking harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun; Ground-level ozone forms when pollutants emitted by cars, trucks, buses, coal-fired power plants and other fossil-fuel burners react with sunlight to form the main ingredient in smog.
Nitrous oxide (NOx) is a dangerous air pollutant found in Earth’s atmosphere. NOx is a greenhouse gas. It contributes to global warming; it is a noxious gas for humans to breath and aides in forming acid rain. A source of NOx is coal-fired power plants, which produce nitrous oxide as a waste byproduct in the production of energy.
Other leading dangerous pollutants are lead, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Sulfur dioxide is a leading cause of acid rain, and can lead to permanent lung damage. VOCs are released by burning fuel, and they harm organic matter and cause cancer. Carbon Monoxide is also released by burning fossil fuels, and it is very deadly because it often kills people in their homes. Gas stoves and other household appliances release carbon monoxide which is undetectable by humans. It has no taste or smell, and can cause a number of symptoms from headaches and nausea to seizures, coma, and death. Catalytic converters for cars were invented to reduce CO emissions by converting it into carbon dioxide.
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