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Weather IV 24 - 10 - 2002

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Weather IV Hi, How are you all? We are still on the subject of air pollutants, let's see what else we, city dwellers, breathe in unsuspectedly! OZONE: Ozone is a clear, blue gas that exists naturally in the far upper regions of our atmosphere. Man, however, has increased the ozone content at the lower levels by emitting large amounts of nitrogen dioxide pollutants which in turn cause the creation of additional ozone. At low levels, ozone poisoning results in chest pain, coughing, and eye irritation. Continuous exposure to small amounts of ozone has shortened the lives of laboratory animals. Ozone destroys such crops as grapes, spinach, lettuce and alfalfa. It even attacks textile and rubber, causing them to deteriorate. Ozone poisoning may also be a problem with those that work around electrical equipment and apparatus. Ozone has a sharp, almost "clean" type of smell. It may also be found in various air fresheners and sprays. LEAD: Chances are good that you are suffering from a low level of lead poisoning, particularly if you live near areas where car exhaust are a problem. Lead affects the central nervous system. Headaches, dizziness, insomnia, weakness, anemia, and loss of appetite are some of the symptoms of chronic lead poisoning. The greatest danger of lead pollution is that it changes the shape of healthy red blood cells and makes them brittle. Residential areas where led fallout is high also have a correspondingly high incidence of heart failure and disease. Lead is a cumulative poison. That means that it can build up in your system over a number of years. Lead is in both air and water supply. Over urban areas, there is twice as much lead in the rainfall as is set by the government for drinking water standards. Most of the lead, however, is not in the water but in the air. Chiefly burning petrol that contains lead causes airborne lead. About 2/3 of all leaded petrol is exhausted into the atmosphere. In fact, since the introduction of lead-containing petrol in 1924, the average person now carries around in his body 100X as much lead as did people who lived before 1924. Our cars that use lead petrol have made the atmosphere over 1000 times higher in lead content than it would have naturally. The annual lead fallout over this country is over 500.000 tons a year. Eventually, these large amounts will upset the mineral balance of the oceans and produce massive lead poisonings. The solution? Immediate suspension of sales, of all lead petrol. The lead released by the petrol of our cars is the major cause of our problem. If you want to help, always use unleaded petrol in your car. It's worth the extra effort for the sake of the environment and your health. ASBESTOS: Asbestos is found in pipe and electric insulations, brake linings, and, unfortunately, the human lungs. Asbestos fibers pollute our air and often find their way into sensitive lung tissue where they become embedded. The mechanical irritation of these fibers harms the lungs and is believed to contribute to tumors in the lungs. Asbestos is also often found in many building materials, all the way from the roofing of a house down to the floor tiles, and in the insulation in between. Construction workers, electricians, plumbers, and many industrial workers need to be concerned about the asbestos pollution in their working environment. Homemakers are not immune to the asbestos problem either. Even such harmless-looking product as talcum powder has now been discovered to contain asbestos fibers. When this powder is used, asbestos particles enter the air and lungs, as well as being deposited on the skin. PARTICLE POLLUTION: Although not purely chemical, another form of air pollution is solid particles. You've seen this type of air pollution yourself. In a ray of sunlight, you have probably seen tiny moving particles of "dust". Such dust contains spores, pollen, molds, ash, soil, soot, and dozens of other solid compounds. In a large city, every breath you take has about 70.000 particles in it. Even "clean" country air has about 40.000 solid particles in each breath of air. Generally, these airborne particles of pollution remain in the air for only a few days. Occasionally however, the lighter particles may drift for weeks and hundreds of miles from where they are released. These particles come from everywhere: from fires, from industries, from farming, and from cars. These airborne particles can make the sky hazy and shut out needed sunlight. For example, after volcanic eruptions which release a large amount of solid particles, the temperatures often drops for a period of weeks. Solid particles in our air also cause irritation to the lungs and eyes, and produce what are often mistakenly labeled as "allergies". If temperature inversions occur or the wind blows the wrong way, these particles can gather in one part of an area and actually darken the daytime sky. When such conditions occur, death due to pollution rise by as much as 50%. This subject will be concluded next week. Here at The Crazy Nut we wish you a healthy and peaceful week. See you next Thursday. P.S. If you have missed any of the previous articles and would like to read them, please visit our archives at

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