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Weather III 17 - 10 - 2002

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Weather III Warm Greetings to you, I sincerely hope that you find this series on pollutants as fascinating as I do. Of course we all know about pollution etc.. but rather in a superficial way. These articles explain the problem in more depth, so letís carry on with Mike Bentonís article. "CARBON MONOXIDE. A jellyfish can belch carbon monoxide. Other than that, man is the only creature that can create this deadly gas. Carbon monoxide is the killers behind car gas poisoning that occur in closed garages. This gas in the exhaust fumes of cars is often fatal to unsuspecting drivers. Over one half of the total air pollution comes from carbon monoxide. And we are responsible, because 80% of all Carmon monoxide comes from the exhaust pipe of cars. Carbon Monoxide is extremely dangerous. It is almost certain that this gas has poisoned you at least once in the past week if you drive in heavy traffic. Tests have shown that traffic jams can produce enough carbon monoxide from the idling cars to cause headaches, irritability, dizziness and nausea. People who must work near heavy traffic areas often breathe in enough carbon monoxide so that their mental processes are slowed down to about one-half of what they should be in clean air. Many driving accidents are now thought to be caused by carbon monoxide leaking from the car and poisoning the driver in the car. For some people, driving a car is not enough pollution. They must also smoke cigarettes, which also give off carbon monoxide. Heavy smokers may have as much as 5% of their blood haemoglobin permanently combined with carbon monoxide. When this occurs, the tissues suffer a low level of oxygen starvation and destruction. Even the carbon monoxide from a single cigarette in a closed car can create headaches in the passengers. Every 3.7 litre of petrol burned in the car releases Ĺ Kg of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. The solution to this sort of pollution is simple: restrict and limit all driving and strive for a more fuel-efficient car. NITROGEN OXIDES: The sun in the midday sky was only a watery disk. Cars drove slowly with their lights on. It was noon in Los Angeles (could be Pretoria or Johannesburg), but the smog made the city look like a smoky, evening battleground. Nitrogen dioxide had combined with other gasses from the heavy traffic to form a dense layer of smog that blocked the sunlight. Nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide are the two most damaging of the nitrogen pollutants. Nitric oxide is very similar to carbon monoxide, and reduces the oxygen carrying capability of the blood. Nitrogen dioxide irritates the eye, nose, bronchial tubes and lungs. High concentrations of this toxic gas prove fatal. Petrol from cars is the major source of nitrogen oxide pollutants. Coal and natural gas burning account for the next, largest, class of nitrogen oxide polluters. Again, the most effective way to control this form of air pollution is by reducing dependency on petrol engines, and finding safer energy alternatives than coal burning. HYDROCARBONS: Hydrocarbons are often emitted in the exhaust from cars and from industrial smoke attacks. The major cause of hydrocarbon pollution is the processing and use of petroleum products. Consequently, hydrocarbon pollution is highest in urban areas. About 13% of the entire annual output of air pollutants is in the form of hydrocarbons. Most of the hydrocarbon compounds are carcinogenic (they contribute to cause cancer) One of the major hydrocarbon pollutants is benzopyrene. This toxic gas is also found in cigarette smoke, and is suspected as a cancer catalyst. Worldwide studies have proven that benzopyrene specifically produces lung cancer. Many city residents breathe in about as much of this gas daily as is contained in 7 cigarettes. Studies have also shown that the person who both smokes cigarettes and live in polluted urban air is the most likely to have cancer." Well, this will be all for today. To be continued next week... Take care, The Crazy Nut Team

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