Industrialization and
    air pollution

  Air Pollutants
  Clean Air Act
  State regulation
  Smog reduction
  Sulfur dioxide
  Carbon dioxide and
    global warming

Air Pollutants

     Types. Air pollutants of concern are lumped into a few, general categories or into prominent singularities. Particulates occupy a catch-all grouping of minute particles where size is the basis for categorization. The federal standard has gone from measuring the level of Total Suspended Particles, relatively coarse particles, to sampling particles less than the diameter of a human hair - 10 microns or less in size - and in 1997 to 2.5 microns in size.

     Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) are just that. Ozone is produced by the reaction between VOCs and nitrogen oxides. Sulfur dioxide is emitted from burning coal and produces sulfuric acid.  Carbon monoxide and lead are well-known regulated substances along with an extensive number of hazardous air pollutants.

      Fossil fuels. West Virginia, although a small state, has a large amount of two of the three main fossil fuels -- coal and natural gas, and has some oil, too. All are high in carbon, having originated from buried organic sediments. In fact, coal and shale are an excellent source of fossils for collecting. Sorry, kids, there are no dinosaur fossils -- the rock strata are too old.     

     Fossil fuel combustion is a significant cause of urban air pollution (photochemical smog, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, toxic gasses, vapors and heavy metals, particulate matter) and acid rain, and is strongly implicated in global climate change (greenhouse effect).  Stratospheric ozone depletion can occur through fluidized bed coal combustion. See
Last updated on Tuesday, July 24, 2001