A Comprehensive List of Pollutants

What’s in the air? Where is it coming from? Who is it coming from? Why is it so bad? I compiled a list for you to make it easier to follow.

  • Soot– “Soot is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, particularly coal. It is emitted by a variety of sources, including burning coal for electricity or industrial fuel, manufacturing, oil refining, and motor vehicles. Soot is released into the air as either extremely small particles or liquid droplets. Some solid particles are emitted directly into the air while others are formed when gases form particles as they are carried thousands of miles from pollution sources.” – American Progress
  • Smoke– you should know what that is.
  • Mold– Read on Mold Pollution from the CDC.
  • Methane– There’s a lot to process butt I encourage you to get the facts. Misinformation can be a gas for sure but don’t let nuances like “it’s been here since before us” derail the certain facts like Agriculture and people’s desire for beef is estimated to produce about 40% in addition to other methanes produced naturally but please, read more from NatGeo to get a better picture.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and other biological materials, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle.
  • Ozone“Bad Ozone. In the Earth’s lower atmosphere, near ground level, ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight. Ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant. Read more.
  • Particulate matter– Fine particles that get caught up in the air from burning solids and turning up soil etc. Learn more about Particulate Matter
  • Carbon monoxide– CO is the clear and odorless stuff that is released from burning. Read more
  • Sulfur dioxide“the chemical compound with the formula SO. It is a toxic gas responsible for the smell of burnt matches. It is released naturally by volcanic activity and is produced as a by-product of copper extraction and the burning of fossil fuels contaminated with sulfur compounds.Wiki
  • Nitrogen dioxide “is the chemical compound with the formula NO
    . It is one of several nitrogen oxides. NO is an intermediate in the industrial synthesis of nitric acid, millions of tons of which are produced each year which is used primarily in the production of fertilizers.Wiki
  • Radon“Radon is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that causes lung cancer. Radon can reside at dangerous levels inside homes, schools and other buildings. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking. Radon-related lung cancers are responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths annually in the United States.” American Lung Association
  • VOCs– “Volatile organic compounds are compounds that contain carbon and can quickly turn into vapors or gases. These VOCs can be released by a number of products or items in contemporary life, from burning gasoline or coal to solvents, glues, dry-cleaning products etc., and they contribute to air pollution and serious health conditions…paint thinners, degreasers, aerosol cans, dry-cleaning products, paints, photographic supplies, printers and photocopying machines and supplies” Environmental Pollution Centers
  • Formaldehyde“In ambient air, formaldehyde is quickly photo-oxidized in carbon dioxide.” It comes from burning forest and such as well as industrial power plants and incinerators, “…secondary formation of formaldehyde occurs in air through the oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and reactions between ozone (mainly from outdoors) and alkenes (especially terpenes) have been widely described.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • Asbestos– “Asbestos is the generic term given to several types of mineral fibres naturally occurring in 2 types of rock-forming minerals (serpentines and amphiboles). It is found in the form of long, fine fibres. There are extensive deposits in Russia, China and South Africa. The main commercial varieties are Crocidolite and Amosite (an amphibole) and Chrysotile (a serpentine).” In other words, mining. Scottish Environment Protection Agency “it a term used to refer to six naturally occurring silicate mineralsWiki
  • Nitrous oxide (NO): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste, as well as during treatment of wastewater.
  • Fluorinated gases: Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for stratospheric ozone-depleting substances (e.g., chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases (“High GWP gases”).” Read Overview of Greenhouse Gases
  • Micro-plastics… micro-plastic is coming down in the rain. NatGeo

After reading the list of what’s polluting the air, the recurring culprit is burning anything.

It’s also in Agricultural, deforestation and industry such as mining for minerals like quartz and copper used in computers just to name one, synthetic materials/matter such as plastic, fertilizer, Fluorinated gases and of course fossil fuels used for heating and powering vehicles and other gas powered machines. The prime catalyst is burning, secondary are gasses released from waste and other chemical reactions ie: landfills and Farming agriculture. Third is in the act of ground erosion from digging resources from the ground ie; digging up the trees and minerals used on manufacturing goods and clearing land for housing and development. But that certainly is not everything.

The circle of disaster is present and we are the primary cause. Many things we cannot turn back time on without causing a total economic collapse BUT we can create a booming market for changing how we make thing. It doesn’t have to be that hard yet many obstacles still stand in our way primarily the fossil fuel industries, oil, bad government leaderships, greed and for every day people, the tendency to ignore the reality and change.

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