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Health effects

PLVAD.jpgAir is all around us, as a vital but also as an influential agent when it comes to air pollution. As an adult breathes approximately 10.000 litres of air every day, it is clear that air quality is directly affecting our health.

Worldwide, air pollution is considered to be responsible for large numbers of deaths and cases of respiratory diseases. Today, air pollution in our cities is of great concern to the health and value of people, especially those living in urban areas. In the table below, a general overview of the health effects that the primary pollutants cause is presented.

This section is currently being modified. There may be disruptions or inaccuracies during the update phase.


Health effects when we have high concentrations of pollutants

  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
  • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

These pollutants irritate the lungs causing negative effects to the respiratory system

  • Ozone (O3)

It destroys throat and lung tissues and irritates the eyes

  • Particulate Matter (PM10, PM2.5)

Fine particulate matter is transferred to the lungs, where it is possible to cause inflammation and aggravation of lung and heart related diseases

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)

It blocks the normal transfer of oxygen in the blood. This may lead to an important reduction of the oxygen that is transferred to the heart and may cause asphyxia

  • Lead (Pb)

Particulate matter that contains lead may be absorbed through the lungs in the blood and may influence the neural system and the bodys ability to produce blood

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Some of these compounds, like benzene, are toxic, while others, such as benzopyrene, may transform the body cells


Excessive exposure to nitrogen oxides may cause health effects on the blood, liver, lung and spleen.

Nitrogen containing species deposited on plants can act as nutrients, however high levels of NO2 and NO are damaging to plant life - they can hinder growth and stress plant life making it more susceptible to other effects such as disease and frost damage. When sulphur dioxide is also present, it may have a synergistic effect increasing the damage more than the sum of the individual effects of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide alone. Nitrogen dioxide is also one of the gases that contribute to acid rain-causing damage to vegetation, buildings and contributing to the acidification of lakes and streams. Ground-level ozone is

European Pollutant Emission Register, hosted by the European Environment Agency (EEA). http://eper.cec.eu.int