Outdoor air pollution case study

Outdoor air pollution is understood to have a major impact on human health. Monitoring air pollution is the first step to managing air pollution. The following case studies give real life examples of how customers use Aeroqual’s instruments to monitor outdoor air pollution.

New York City Department of Environmental Protection

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the agency responsible for New York’s environment.

Tonglu Environment Protection Agency

Tonglu Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the organisation responsible for keeping Tonglu County’s environment pristine.

New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage

OEH supports the community, business and government in protecting, ... and making the most of a healthy environment and economy in New South Wales.

Delhi Pollution Control Committee

Delhi Pollution Control Committee is responsible for the measurement and management of air quality in India's capital city.

Ali Mousa & Sons Group

Ali Mousa & Sons Crusher Company own a world class crusher quarry in Fujairah. It operates 24 hours a day producing high quality aggregate

AngloGold Ashanti

AngloGold is a multinational mining company with a strong commitment to the health and well-being of the communities it touches.

YPF

Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF) is the national energy company of Argentina. The largest four refineries that they run are located in a province of

URS Corporation

URS is a global engineering consultancy headquartered in the USA with over 46,500 staff located around the world. Aeroqual was contacted by their

University of Birmingham

Dr Delgado-Saborit from The University of Birmingham is an expert in personal exposure studies. Her latest research project aimed at understanding daily

STI Sensor Network

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District contracted the California based air quality consultancy, Sonoma Technology, Inc (STI) to carry out an

Road Metals Quarry

Road Metals is one of the most respected contracting businesses in New Zealand. The company operates several sites across the South Island

Ridley Coal Terminals

Ridley Coal runs a bulk handling terminal on the West Coast of Canada, which is a vital link in the energy supply chain between

Niger Delta

David Ishmael is an experienced consultant working in Nigeria. He has conducted numerous air quality studies in the oil, mining and manufacturing

Emirates Aluminium

Emirates Aluminium is a state-of-the-art aluminium smelter that produce 1.3 million tonnes per annum, making it one of the largest single site smelters in

Egnatia Odos Motorway

The Egnatia Motorway traces its origins back to Roman times and remains a vital link between Greece and the rest of Europe.

State University of the Amazonas

The city of Manaus is the most populous city of the Amazonas and has become a major industrial centre for

Dubai Municipality Air Quality Network

Dubai is known throughout the world as a bold and forward-thinking city. When Dubai Municipality needed to upgrade their air quality network they chose

Types of outdoor air pollution

There are many different types of outdoor air pollution. Measuring them all would be too expensive so regulators focus on a smaller group of common air pollutants, sometimes known as the criteria pollutants. The following is a summary of the main types of outdoor air pollution.

Nitrogen Dioxide

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a criteria pollutant and contributes to the formation of photochemical smog, with significant impact on human health. Breathing raised levels of NO2 inflames the lining of the lungs and reduces immunity to lung infections. The result is wheezing, coughing, colds, flu and bronchitis, and more frequent and intense asthma attacks. The major source of NO2 is from combustion of fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas. Most of the nitrogen dioxide in cities comes from motor vehicle exhaust. Other sources of nitrogen dioxide are petrol and metal refining, electricity generation from coal-fired power stations, other manufacturing industries and food processing.

Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a criteria pollutant. Short-term exposure to SO2, ranging from 5 minutes to 24 hours, is linked with adverse respiratory effects including bronchoconstriction and increased asthma symptoms. SO2 is also a major precursor to fine particulate soot and acid rain. Primary sources include fossil fuel combustion at power plants and other industrial facilities. Secondary sources include industrial processes such as extracting metal from ore, and the burning of high sulfur-containing fuels by locomotives, large ships, and off-road equipment.

Carbon Monoxide

Short-term exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) can reduce the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, leading to shortness of breath, dizziness and even death. This is especially dangerous for people with heart disease who already have a reduced capacity for carrying oxygenated blood to the heart. The majority of CO emissions in urban environments come from mobile sources e.g. cars, trucks, ships and off-road vehicles. Fossil fuel power stations are another major contributor, as well as fires and biogenic sources in rural areas.

Ozone

In the upper atmosphere ‘good’ ozone (O3) protects life on Earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays. At ground level ‘bad’ ozone is a criteria pollutant that is a significant health risk, especially for people with asthma. It also damages crops, trees and other vegetation and is the main component of smog. Ground level ozone is not emitted directly; it is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC.

Particulate Matter

Airborne particulate matter (PM) is categorized into different size fractions. Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) includes all particle sizes and is a good measure of nuisance dust. PM10 (particles ≤ 10 microns) is a criteria pollutant and is a serious health risk because PM10 particles can penetrate the lungs. PM2.5 (particles ≤ 2.5 microns) is also a criteria pollutant which has even greater health impact due to risk of penetration deeper into the respiratory system. Research has linked particulate pollution to lung and heart disease, strokes, cancer, and reproductive harm. Large particles come from natural sources e.g. soil and organic matter stirred up by wind or human activity. Small particles are by-products of combustion e.g. emissions from vehicles and power stations. Particles from these sources react with other gases in the atmosphere to create particles of various chemical compositions. Gas to particle conversion can also produce fine particulate.