air pollutants pose
a special problem for people such as home builders and farmers who
residents are typically exposed to such outdoor air pollutants as
ozone, particulate matter (dust and smoke), and mixtures that contain
chemicals like benzene, and xylene (found in gasoline.) In addition,
sulfur compounds, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and compounds
containing bromine and chlorine may be found in the air in urban
areas. Levels of these pollutants are measured in terms of
ozone levels. As ozone levels increase, levels of all other
air pollutants tend to increase.
outdoor air pollutants that rural residents are exposed to are slightly
different from pollution encountered in urban areas. Agricultural
workers, for example are at risk to being exposed to grain dust
and toxic residues from moldy grains such as aflatoxin. Heavy
exposure to grain dust can cause a respiratory disease called Farmer's
Lung. Exposure to aflatoxins can cause cancer.
pollutants, regardless of their source, tend to cause or worsen
respiratory problems such as asthma and emphysema.
The best protection
from outdoor air pollutants is to remain indoors, especially during
ozone alerts. When this is not possible, try to keep your
level of activity to a minimum. Also, wear a dust mask when
working in a dusty environment.
There are many
types of outdoor air pollutants. Go to the next page to find
out more about different types of outdoor air pollution.