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Workshop 1 - Derrick Snyder


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North Central Region One Water Action Forum

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Workshop 1 - Derrick Snyder

  1. 1. Air Quality and Health Derrick Snyder, NWS Paducah, KY 2018 Great Lakes Big Rivers Climate Workshop
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  3. 3. Air quality can greatly affect our heath. Nine out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air. Air pollution kills 7 million people each year. One-third of deaths due to stroke, lung cancer, and heart disease are caused by air pollution…the same rate as smoking and more than excess sodium intake! (Source: World Health Organization)
  4. 4. What kinds of air pollutants cause health problems? Particulate Pollution Ozone Sulfur Dioxide Carbon Monoxide
  5. 5. Particulate Pollution (a.k.a. Particulate Matter) Particulate pollution is a mixture of solids and liquid droplets. Particulates can be emitted directly from polluting sources or can form when various pollutants in the atmosphere react. Particulates less than 10 micrometers are small enough to be inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause serious health problems.
  6. 6. Fine vs. Coarse Particulates Fine • Diameter is less than 2.5 micrometers. • Major sources include motor vehicles, power plants, forest fires, agricultural burning, and industrial processes. Coarse • Diameter is between 2.5 and 10 micrometers. • Major sources include crushing or grinding operations and dust kicked up by vehicles traveling down roads.
  7. 7. For sensitive groups, particulate pollution can… …increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. …aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic bronchitis. …result in more coughing and shortness of breath. …accelerate risk of heart attacks. …lead to chest pain, fatigue, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. …result in more ER visits and hospital stays.
  8. 8. Ozone: Both Good and Bad Good Ozone • Found naturally in Earth’s upper atmosphere. • Shields the Earth’s surface from harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer. Bad Ozone • Created near the ground by chemical reactions of pollutants. Forms most often during the summer months. • Can irritate the lungs can cause permanent lung damage.
  9. 9. Ozone pollution can affect nearly everyone. Sensitive Groups Children Older Adults Active People Even Healthy People
  10. 10. Ozone pollution primarily impacts the lungs. Ozone can… ✓ irritate the respiratory system and reduce lung function. ✓ inflame and damage the cells that line the lungs. ✓ make the lungs susceptible to infections. ✓ aggravate asthma and other chronic lung illnesses. ✓ cause permanent lung damage.
  11. 11. Sulfur Dioxide A colorless gas that is produced by burning sulfur-rich fuels like coal or oil. Major sources of sulfur dioxide include power plants, refineries, and industrial boilers.
  12. 12. Even brief exposure to sulfur dioxide can cause problems. • People with asthma are most at risk from sulfur dioxide, especially active people. • Exposure of just a few minutes can cause airways to constrict, resulting in wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. • At very high levels, sulfur dioxide can irritate the respiratory system of healthy people without asthma.
  13. 13. Carbon Monoxide About 75% of all carbon monoxide emissions are produced by engine combustion. Carbon monoxide can also come from industrial production and from wildfires. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by vehicle engine combustion.
  14. 14. Monitoring pollution with the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is a yardstick that measures from 0 to 500. The higher the value, the greater the threat to public health.
  15. 15. The value of the AQI is tied to pollutant concentration. Similar values are calculated for coarse PM, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. Example: Fine Particulate Matter
  16. 16. Where to find AQI information. On the web: Email alerts: AQI information is often shown in broadcast and print media outlets. website
  17. 17. The NWS also relays air quality alert information.
  18. 18. The NWS also relays air quality alert information.
  19. 19. No group can do it all alone, so let’s work together! NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors are organizations that are working to mitigate or build resilience to extreme weather, water, and climate events. Learn more and apply at!
  20. 20. No group can do it all alone, so let’s work together! Learn more and apply at!
  21. 21. Thank you! Questions?