Air pollutant

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An undesirable substance in the air. Air pollutants may be damaging or toxic to the environment, people, and materials. Currently the pollutants with the highest outdoor concentrations generally occur in big cities (Nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, Ozone, Carbon monoxide, particulates) or near smoke stacks (Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides). Very dense (Haze, or combination of smoke and fog, is called smog. Indoor air pollutants (organic acids, aldehydes, hydrocarbons, ozone, particulates, etc) are emitted from construction materials (wood, insulation, carpets, paints), office machines (copiers, printers) or are transported inside from the outdoor environment. The concentration of air pollutants may be decreased by minimizing sources or by reacting or absorbing the pollutants from the air.

  • See Pollutant record for a comparison table of aerosols and collection risks.

Synonyms and Related Terms

air pollutants; air pollution; indoor air pollutants; indoor air pollution; smog; Luftverschmutzung (Deut.); pollution atmosphérique (Fr.); poluição atmosférica (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Comment: "pollution" [Accessed September 24, 2003
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, Phyllis G.Tortora, Robert S. Merkel (eds.), Fairchild Publications, New York City, 7th edition, 1996
  • Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002
  • Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online,, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000