Behind the Door
Effects of Air Pollution
Greenhouse gases, like fossil fuels released by vehicles and factories, and methane, released by livestock, contribute to air pollution and add to climate change by raising the earth's temperature. In a vicious circle, climate change then makes a certain type of air pollution worse. A reaction between combusting fossil fuel emissions and sunlight creates smog, a yellowish or blackish fog also known as "ground level ozone." Climate change also creates more allergenic air pollutants, such as mold caused by damp conditions and pollen caused by a longer pollen season and increased pollen production.
Air pollution can have a serious heath impact on humans. If you are exposed to very high levels of air pollutants, you may experience irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, wheezing, coughing and breathing problems and have a greater risk of heart attacks. Air pollution can also exacerbate existing lung and heart conditions, like asthma. Smog can irritate the eyes and throat and also damage the lungs. Children, senior citizens and people who work or exercise outside are at a greater risk. Those most at risk are people with asthma or allergies because pollutants can make their symptoms worse and trigger asthma attacks.