Air Pollution: A Growing Problem
Ozone is an invisible pollutant formed by chemical reactions involving nitrogen oxides, reactive hydrocarbons and sunlight. Each day the ozone cycle repeats. It is a powerful respiratory irritant that can cause coughing, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue and lung damage, especially among children, the elderly, the ill and people who exercise outdoors.
Particulate matter is the fine mineral, metal soot, smoke and dust particles suspended in the air. For health reasons, we are most concerned with inhalant particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10) and PM 2.5, which can permanently lodge in the deepest, most sensitive areas of the lung and cause respiratory and other health problems.
Air toxics, also known as hazardous air pollutants or toxic air pollutants, are substances emitted into the air that can cause cancer, reproductive harm and other health effects. Most air toxics originate from human-made sources, including mobile sources (e.g., cars, trucks, buses) and stationary sources (e.g., factories, refineries, power plants), as well as indoor sources (e.g., building materials and activities such as cleaning). People who live or work near specific sources are most at risk. Examples of air toxics are asbestos, benzene (found in gasoline), ethylene oxide (used in sterilization), and perchloroethylene (used in fabric cleaning).
The District's mission is to protect human health and property from the harmful effects of air pollution and our staff and programs are dedicated to accomplishing this goal.