These are the substances most important pollutants because of their greater volume or greater toxicity.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2): The main gas responsible for global warming.
- Nitrogen oxides (NOx) contribute to the formation of ground level ozone and smog.
- Hydrogen chloride (HCl): Very soluble in water, forms a very strong acid called hydrochloric acid, responsible for the formation of acid mists in environmental conditions of humidity and for investments. Such a situation may cause irritation of eyes and other sensitive human tissues and respiratory problems.
- Sulphur dioxide (SO2): Principal responsible for the destruction of almost one third of the forests of central and northern Europe by acid rain.- Solid particles: We distinguish between coarse particles (more than 2 microns in diameter) and fine particles (less than 2 micómetros). Fine particles are most dangerous as they can be washed hundreds of miles by the wind and the human body has no protection against them, so they easily penetrate the alveolar sacs of the lungs, where the pollutants that go directly transported the blood.
The most dangerous are mercury, which damages the neurological system, cadmium, which damages the kidneys, and lead, which most worrying clinical effect is the damage that occurs in the mental development of children. Its toxicity is exacerbated by persistent and bioaccumulative character: do not degrade and the living have no mechanisms to remove them.
Synthetic organic compounds:
Distinguished by their high toxicity, volatility, persistence in the environment, bioaccumulative nature and mobility in landfill, chemicals such as aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons (toluene, xylene, benzene), esters, ethers, ketones, amines, PCBes, PCTes … Among them are the most dangerous pollutants generated by human activity ever: dioxins and furans, which belong to a larger chemical family, the organochlorines:
- Vinyl chloride
Use: Production of PVC
Cause brain cancer, suppresses the immune system
Mutagenic, causes birth defects
Use: Paints, rubber and carpet cleaners
Cause cancer and damage to the central nervous system
Cause reproductive failure
- Methyl chloroform
Use: Correction fluid and ink
Damages the heart and respiratory system
Destroyer of the ozone layer
Use: Dry cleaning, metal degreasing
It damages the liver and kidneys
Causes acid rain
Use: Fungicide product in the production of chlorinated solvents
Inhibits the development and affects the metabolism
Use: Byproduct during the production and incineration of organochlorine
Cause cancer and reproductive failure, damage the immune system
Cancerous tumors originating in fish and marine mammals