Monday, May 2, 2011

Why Some Gases Are Deadly Dangerous-NO2

The last post asked what we'd do if we had to make a choice between the environment and some of our life giving activities. It is a tough choice to make. At a certain point in time will we have to make that choice? Not if we modify our activities to benefit both - us and the environment.

To be able to do that we first need to understand what exactly human activities have been responsible for.

To date what we've done is, taken a resource from the earth, used it to make whatever's useful and ended the process there. We haven’t had to think about what by-product we’ve created.

All too often this has been a pollutant that poisons our air, waters and soil and damages our health.

6. This article tells us why certain gases like nitrogen dioxide are deadly dangerous for our health. It helps us understand why these gases shouldn’t be the end product of our activities.


Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a brownish, highly reactive gas that is present in all urban atmospheres. It is one of the several nitrogen oxides - NOx - but one of the most prominent air pollutants. This reddish-brown toxic gas has a characteristic sharp, biting odor and is like a brown haze hanging over our cities.
Photo by Thunderror
Nitrogen oxides form when fuels are burnt at high temperatures. The major emissions sources are the engines of vehicles and ships (transportation) and stationary combustion sources such as heating, power generation and industrial boilers (Industry, Keeping Warm and Cooking).
Nitrogen and oxygen in the air react with each other under these high temperatures to form oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

Why nitrogen dioxide is toxic to life 

Prolonged exposure to nitrogen dioxide can irritate the lungs and lower a person's resistance to respiratory infections such as influenza. Symptoms of bronchitis in asthmatic children increase with long-term exposure to NO2. Reduced lung function growth is also linked to NO2
The brownish gas reacts with moisture in the air to form nitric acid, which can corrode buildings and monuments, and toxic organic nitrates, which contribute to acid rain and the acidification of lakes, rivers, and streams. Nitrogen dioxide also plays a major role in producing particulate matter (PM) and ground-level ozone or smog.

All images from here


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Some other gases that are harmful to humans. Click on each:

Carbon Monoxide  

Carbon Dioxide  

Sulphur Dioxide  

Nitrogen Dioxide  

Acid Rain

Particulate Matter  

Ground Level Ozone and Odours

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