Effects of a Photochemical Smog

Posted by Abdullah Mahmood on June 05, 2010 with No comments

Effects of a Photochemical Smog

Smog is a type of air pollution that is caused by the interaction of sunlight with certain chemicals in the atmosphere including aldehydes and the ozone particles themselves. The word smog is derivative of two combined words Smoke and Fog. The chemical reaction of sunlight, Nitrogen oxides and the volatile organic compounds leaves particulate matter at ground level zone and this leads to what we refer to as a Photochemical Smog.

The high level of nitrogen oxides are released in the air by the reaction of Nitrogen and Oxygen at high temperatures and the exhaust of fossil fuels, burning of engines and other vehicles is the leading factor in the formation of Photochemical Smog. Smog can also be formed by volcanic eruptions when high levels of sulphur are emitted along with the volcanic ash that reacts with other air pollutants.

Photochemical smogs have been one of the reasons for numerous deaths in the past other than the one’s marked by the two world wars. In 1952, London alone witnessed a photochemical smog that lasted 4 days killing approximately a thousand people a day. It was not until 1969, according to LA Times newspaper that scientists figured the hazards of the photochemical smog and discovered drying membranes in the nose and throat and also the imbalance in hormone systems due to the dreadful fogs.

Environmental Hazards
The smog also leaves devastating effects on the environment and kills thousands of species of animals and plants as they are still not immune or adapted to breathing in such a toxic environmentThe peroxyacetyl nitrate and ozone; the components of the photochemical smog themselves are known to be aggravating breathing difficulties, headaches and eye irritation alone. The most affected areas are the ones that contain large amounts of air pollutant but the affect of this deadly smog worsens during the warm season when the upper air is warm enough to inhibit vertical circulation. Thus one could imagine what problems may come under way when these combine together.

Effect on Humans
Photochemical Smog is also hazardous to human health. Photochemical smog causes pre-mature deaths and creates a lot of problems for even normal people. It can affect densely populated areas and can build up to dangerous levels. The most affected include senior citizens, children and people with heart complications who tend to suffer from bronchitis and asthma. The photochemical smog is the cause of inflamed breathing passages which cause decrease in the working capacity of normal lungs, pain in inhaling deeply and shortness of breath.

A photochemical smog is considered a huge problem especially with the Modern industrialization and the hazardous chemicals involved that are not only highly reactive but also spread around in the atmosphere. The effects of photo chemical smog can be reduced by adopting helpful solutions like adopting lifestyle changes, limiting use of fossil fuels finding alternate means for transportation rather than fuel powered vehicles as this helps reduce the emission of the harmful emissions especially the ones that are released from car exhausts.