Immissions (=concentration of air pollutants in the ambient atmosphere) result from the intensity and the type of emissions of air pollutants, the dispersion of air pollutants and their transportation.
The main air pollution indicators are SO2, NOx, PM, CO, VOC and O3.
Road traffic has become the first source of air pollution in urban areas.
Health effects caused by air pollutants depend on the absorbed dose, the type of pollutants and the individual susceptibility.
To provide a thorough presentation of sources, dispersion and transformation of major air pollutants.
To describe the health effects of these air pollutants.
To explain the differences between emissions, immissions, exposure and absorbed dose.
To help readers to understand what is at stake in the topical scientific and political debate on air pollution.
Summary Air pollution, particularly in urban areas, constitutes a public health concern, as it has a harmful effect on the health, survival and activities of humans and other living organisms.
Here, the main types of air pollution commonly found in urban environments are presented, along with their sources, levels of emissions, mechanisms of dispersion, transformation, concentrations in ambient air (=immissions), and effects on the environment and health. In particular, the concepts of exposure, absorbed dose and individual susceptibility are explained. The recent evolution in air pollutant emissions and immissions due to the growing weight of road traffic is also described. Finally, European air quality criteria are highlighted.
- ©ERS 2004
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