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Air Pollution: A Scientific Primer

The science of air pollution is complex and evolving. Becoming informed is a key to citizens becoming effective players in preventing air pollution. This primer provides a resource for understanding the basics of air pollution science.

Listed below are common air pollutants and a brief discussion to help citizens become more informed about what goes into their air. Some pollutants affect only small regional areas, while others can travel the globe. No matter how diverse the pollutants are, the fight against air pollution starts with the same step — arming yourself with knowledge.

Science Facts
Acid Rain
Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs)
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
Global Climate Change
Emission Trends
Science Links

smoke stack

Since the Second World War, the quantity and variety of chemicals being released into the environment has become ever increasing, with the number of organic chemicals produced doubling about every 7 to 8 years. This means that the production of chemicals has risen from approximately 1 million tonnes per year in the 1930’s to 250 million in 1985.