Industries and Air Pollution

A few articles relating to various industries and the types of air pollution they cause.  I trust you will find them informative.  Please follow the links provided to read the complete articles at their source.


Industries and Air Pollution

How Do Factories Cause Air Pollution?

Sciencing –

Updated April 19, 2018
By Maria Kielmas

“The presence of chemicals, particulates or biological compounds in the atmosphere can harm human and animal health and damage the environment. Factories and other industrial installations have caused such pollution since the dawn of the industrial age by burning fuels, carrying out chemical processes and releasing dust and other particulates. Air pollution can be controlled through the installation of filters and scrubbers to clean exhaust fumes from factory processes, and by taking steps to minimize the generation of pollution at the source.

Energy Sources
Factories need an energy source to power their production processes. In the United States, this has been electricity generated by fossil fuel burning, in particular coal. Air pollutants emitted by coal-fired power plants include nitrogen and sulfur oxides, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride gases, and arsenic, lead and other metals. Power generation for factories may cause greater air pollution than the factory processes. Natural gas is the least polluting fossil fuel for power generation. It emits nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide on burning but in far lower quantities than coal

Metal Smelting
Metals provide machine components, vehicles, instruments and infrastructure in factories. Metal smelters that process and refine mineral ores and scrap metal create silica and metallic dusts during initial crushing and grinding. Heating and smelting processes produce emissions of sulfur and carbon oxides. Aluminum smelting can emit arsenic particulates, while lead and gold refining produces mercury and cyanide emissions.

Petrochemical Smog
Factory processes involve varied combinations of cleaning, painting and heating, while other raw material or appliance treatments release volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. These are carbon- or hydrocarbon-based chemicals that quickly evaporate in the air. In the presence of sunlight, they react with other air pollutants like sulfur or nitrogen oxides from vehicle exhausts to create peroxyacetyl nitrates, commonly known as photochemical smog. This looks like a thick brown haze and can linger for days or weeks over urban centers.”


Air Pollution Caused by Industries

By: Sarah Brumley
Updated January 26, 2019

Bizfluent –

“When drilling rigs retrieve oil and gases from deep within the Earth, they bring up a host of flammable gases and chemicals that affect life on the surface. Although the list of air polluters is long, the oil, gas and automotive industries and electricity generation are major players. Even natural events, such as dust storms and wildfires, add to air pollution.

Greenhouse Gases
Many industries contribute to greenhouse gases. Electricity, meaning power generation, is responsible for 31 percent of greenhouse gases; transportation, 27 percent; industry, 21 percent; commercial and residential activities, 12 percent; and agriculture 9 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Carbon dioxide makes up a full 82 percent of greenhouse gases. Methane (10 percent), nitrous oxide (5 percent) and fluorinated gases make up the rest. Over a century, however, methane is 21 to 25 times as effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Oil, gas, coal mining and landfills together produce more than half of U.S. methane emissions, says the EPA.

Oil and Gas
Besides carbon dioxide, oil and gas operations produce nitrogen oxides and hydrogen sulfide, which create smog; and flammable, toxic chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Methane is just one VOC. Oil and gas operations also produce hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) such as benzene, toluene, n-hexane and many others, along with tiny particles of soot.

Fracking operations launch health-threatening silica particles into the air as well. Over time, accumulations of silica in the lungs can cause silicosis, a disabling lung disease, and can contribute to tuberculosis. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control identified tuberculosis as the most “distinctive” cause of death in Texas, whose economy depends heavily on oil and gas production.

One 2013 study from the MIT Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment estimated that air pollution causes 200,000 early deaths a year. The chief source of early death by pollution is road transportation — that is, tailpipe exhaust.

Motor vehicles account for almost half of VOC air pollution, more than half of the nitrogen oxide emissions, and 75 percent of the carbon monoxide emissions, the EPA says. The EPA’s master list of chemical compounds released in road transport runs to 1,162 entries, from (1, 1-dimethylethyl)-benzene to hydrogen cyanide.

One fourth of motor-vehicle pollution comes from heavy-duty trucks, which typically get 5 or 6 miles per gallon and account for about 4 percent of traffic. In June 2015, the EPA proposed new rules to increase fuel efficiency by up to 40 percent for any truck larger than a pickup.

Power Plants
Electricity generation is responsible for almost as many early deaths from emissions as road transportation, according to the MIT study.

Almost 40 percent of the carbon dioxide produced in the United States comes from power plants. Coal-fueled plants are the most polluting. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) states that in 2014, power plants produced 2.04 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, with 76 percent, or 1.56 billion, coming from coal plants. Coal generated 39 percent of U.S. electricity in 2014, according to the EIA.

Power plant emissions have long been unrestricted. However, in 2014, the EPA proposed new rules to cut plant emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Agriculture is known more for water pollution than for air pollution. The EPA, however, considers crop and livestock dust air pollutants, and agriculture produces more than 90 percent of ammonia pollution, which has multiple adverse health effects, from nose and throat irritation to chronic lung disease. The methane that farm animals produce as part of their digestive processes makes up 26 percent of U.S. methane emissions, and manure management adds 10 percent more.”




Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

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