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Health Impacts


General Air Pollution Symptoms

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Throat dryness
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Pollution Exposure Over TimeHealth Effects of Ozone

When inhaled, ozone irritates the respiratory system and can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest pain, as well as exacerbate allergies and respiratory diseases such as asthma. (Read more). In fact, recent studies have shown that ozone can actually cause asthma in children who are active outdoors in smoggy areas.

Over 50,000 Californians are hospitalized yearly because of severe asthma attacks, and more young children are hospitalized every year for asthma than for any other cause. Ozone not only aggravates the respiratory system temporarily; prolonged inhalation of unsafe levels of ozone can reduce lung function and development in children and permanently damage lung tissue.

Health effects of Particulate Matter (PM)

Nationwide, air pollution causes between 50,000 and 100,000 premature deaths per year, and particulates account for a majority of these. In fact, PM accounts for more deaths than homicides and automobile accidents combined every year. Non-fatal health impacts of PM include reduced lung function, heart problems, and aggravation of respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, chronic obstructive lung disease, and pneumonia. PM can accelerate death from other causes, such as lung cancer, and exposure to the small particles, even for short periods of time, can cause heart damage and trigger heart attacks. Read more here.

Hair Cross Section