What Is Smog The Harm It Causes

what is smog

Smog is an organized form of airborne air pollution, which occurs due to human activity, car exhaust, burning fuel, smoking, chimney smoke, factory emissions, or even animal dander. The term “smog” has been coined from the early twentieth century, when the term smog was used to refer to fog created by cigarette smoke. In more recent years, the term has also been used to refer to all pollutants in the atmosphere, which are any molecules that are in the air, vaporized or otherwise, at an atmospheric pressure that is lower than the atmospheric pressure of water.

Accumulation Of Harmful Gaseous Pollutants

A train on a track with smoke coming out of the forest

The primary cause of smog is the accumulation of harmful gaseous pollutants at the ground level, where they accumulate and remain until released into the air. These gaseous pollutants are usually contained within the soil, because it is the most easily accessible place on the planet. Gaseous pollutants tend to stay close to the ground, which means that they can be easily deposited from one particle to the next, with potentially harmful results. This process is called oxidation. When enough particles of pollution are accumulated on the ground, they act as a catalyst for an explosion of reactive species, which will then cause the gaseous pollutants to react collectively in a very destructive fashion.

In addition to what is smog, there are other causes of smog. The atmospheric conditions between nighttime and daytime can affect the amount of gaseous pollutants that can be present in the air. During nighttime, there are significantly less pollutants in the air, so the amount of smog caused by the oxidation process is much less. Conversely, daytime temperatures are warmer, which means that more pollutants are able to escape into the air. This increase in air pollution during the day hours is what causes smog to occur during the day.

Atmospheric Conditions

A large body of water with a mountain in the background

What is smog is also caused by the existence of harmful chemicals in the air, such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. These two components of smog are extremely harmful to your health because they are known to cause serious respiratory illnesses, including asthma and cancer. Nitrogen oxides, in particular, has been linked to the development of the skin disease eczema, which is why avoiding areas with heavy concentrations of nitrogen oxides in the air is crucial for your own health. While some people can deal with the smell of nitrogen oxides, others cannot; this is why controlling the amount of pollutants in your immediate area is so important.

Role Of Ozone

There are even more harmful gases in the air than just the aforementioned two, though. Ozone is another culprit of what is smog, as well as barium oxide and phonosilic compounds. All three of these ingredients are potent carcinogens, though, so living near or working in an area where these gases gather can have serious health effects. The level of ozone present in an average city is thought to be five times higher than that of natural conditions, which means that even those who live only a few miles from a busy highway could be at risk.

Last Words

What is smog is really about the cumulative damage that it causes to the environment. While a smog generator may prevent ozone from being produced, the damage that it can cause to your lungs is something you cannot avoid. You should always use a good ozone air cleaner and take preventative action to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds that are in the air. You can help prevent respiratory illnesses that have been shown to be associated with prolonged exposure to high levels of smog.

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