A single automobile may not significantly contribute to global warming. But, when there are too many vehicles in a population-dense city, air pollution becomes a large existing problem.
Fuel-powered cars release toxic substances into the atmosphere through their exhaust systems. The excessive amount poses serious health problems and environmental risks. Listed are the major air pollutants emitted by vehicles.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
People don’t usually think of this gas as harmful when it naturally exists in the air. But, just as how certain things can be dangerous in large amounts, CO2creates environmental problems if there’s too much of it in the atmosphere. Its particles trap the sun’s heat inside the Earth’s ozone layer, making outdoor temperatures hotter than normal. This phenomenon is commonly known as the greenhouse effect.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
If the car’s fuel undergoes complete combustion, CO2is produced. But, when the process is only partial, meaning there are insufficient levels of oxygen, CO is released, instead. Like the former, this chemical matter adds to the amount of greenhouse gases in the air. And, it can be a health hazard, too.
If the exhaust pipe is damaged, CO2can enter the cabin and may cause dizziness, headache, and nausea to the passengers. Since it’s invisible and odorless, they may not suspect the gas to be the culprit. After just a few minutes, the effects become worse as it continues to displace oxygen. This will eventually lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal.
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
These chemicals refer to a group of seven gases that are formed when nitrogen reacts with oxygen under high pressure and temperature in the vehicle’s engine. These molecules are one of the reasons behind the brownish smog in the city. When it rains, they form nitric acid, which makes the water toxic to the soil and plants.
Inhaling large amounts of nitrogen oxide will irritate the eyes, nose, and lungs. A person will also experience coughing, headache, and nausea. Long-term exposure leads to asthma, decreased fertility, and other graver health problems.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
These carbon-based substances are characterized by their tendency to evaporate under normal room temperature. Examples are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, acetaldehyde, and formaldehyde.
Upon their release, VOCs can react with NOx in the atmosphere. The sunlight triggers the two types of substances to create ground-level ozone, which is responsible for the smog. Similar to NOx, these gases irritate the respiratory system and cause nausea. Some of them are also linked to cancer.
The visible particles found in the fumes are called particulate matter. The most obvious one is soot, which is made of impure carbon molecules resulting from the partial combustion of hydrocarbons.
These black, powdery substances make breathing difficult and aggravate asthma. They can get stuck in the lungs, creating serious health issues, like heart attack, cancer, and premature death.
These environmental and health hazards can be mitigated with the help of an exhaust gas analyzer, which examines the car’s emissions. Get yours today to ensure you and your family’s safety.