About the Trim Air Quality Project



Main air pollutants and their effects on human health

Particulate matter (PM) is emitted from many sources and is one of the most harmful pollutants to human health. It penetrates sensitive regions of the respiratory system and can cause or aggravate cardiovascular and lung diseases as well as cancers.

Ground-level ozone (O3) is an air pollutant that affects human health, vegetation and materials. Ozone is formed when other pollutants react with sunlight.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) are emitted from fuel combustion, such as from power plants and other industrial facilities. They contribute to acidification and eutrophication of waters and soils. In the air, they can cause health problems, such as airway inflammation and reduced lung function.

Organic pollutants, such as Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), are emitted from fuel and waste combustion, industrial processes and solvent use. Substances such as hexachlorobenzene (HCB), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can have a range of harmful effects on human health and ecosystems.

Heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, are toxic to ecosystems. They are mainly emitted from combustion processes and industrial activities. As well as polluting the air, they can build up in soils and sediments, and bio-accumulate in food chains.

Ammonia (NH3) is emitted mainly from agriculture and contributes to both eutrophication and acidification of waters and soils.