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Meet the Air Pollutants


The air pollutants subject to Review and Assessment are:

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - affects breathing and worsens some allergies. Major sources are motor vehicles and power stations (locally motor vehicles and heating appliances). Monitored across the District.

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) - affects breathing. Major sources are power stations and some industries (and locally coal fires). Monitored at several locations.

Fine particulate matter (PM10) - can cause various health effects. Major sources are some industries, motor vehicles and fuel-burning (locally motor vehicles and industry). Monitored in central Lancaster.

Carbon monoxide (CO) - is toxic in high concentrations – affects breathing and ability to concentrate. Can damage the nerves. Major sources are motor vehicles. Concentrations may be high at the roadside (but not locally).

Lead (Pb) - is toxic in high concentrations – can damage nerves, kidneys, joints and reproductive system. Major sources are motor vehicles and some industries. Levels declining since introduction of unleaded petrol.

Benzene (C6H6) - can cause cancer. Major sources are motor vehicles and some industries.

1,3-Butadiene - may cause cancer. Major sources are motor vehicles and some industries.

A note on harmful low-level ozone
One air pollutant subject to Government rather than local responsibility is harmful low-level Ozone (O3). Not be confused with Earth’s protective Ozone Layer in the upper atmosphere, low-level Ozone affects breathing. It forms in sunlight by a slow chemical reaction between other air pollutants. Because it then affects areas other than the source of the pollution, local authorities are not well-placed to control it.





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