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Smog, What Is It and Why Is It Dangerous?

Health News

A dark, hazy cloud descends on the city. As the sun rises, it is partially obscured by the thick mist. This is not an ordinary foggy day. This is the byproduct of a heavily industrialized area. This is smog, and it is on the rise. 

Smog is a combination of the words smoke and fog and is created by air pollution that remains at a low atmospheric level and is thick enough to create a visible haze, obscuring the sky and can even block sunlight from reaching the city below. Common in large cities above factories and manufacturing centers, smog presents a large number of health hazards and presents physical dangers to those that live under its effects. The Environmental Protection Agency has a clear explanation of smog

Unlike smoking, smog is not a problem that people can individually choose to take on. Smog shows no preference from one person to the next and affects everyone in its shadow. Whether you are a worker at the local coal plant or a doctor at a major hospital uptown, you still breathe in the poisonous effects. Many individuals in areas affected by smog choose to drive their cars to and from work to avoid the air. The irony of that decision is that automobiles are one of the leading contributors to these types of air quality issues. While smog-related fatalities are on the decline, records indicate there have been smog-related deaths in recent history.

Thankfully there are individuals researching this potentially catastrophic problem. Respiratory therapy schools dedicate much of their work to dealing with the health implications of long term smog exposure. With millions of Americans suffering from illnesses and ailments connected to smog inhalation, respiratory therapy schools in Texas are working hard to train medical professionals to treat the concerns that patients are fighting. As people suffer the effects of smog pollution, respiratory therapy schools share a very personal interest in helping others recover from the health issues they suffer as a result of catastrophic smog.

What makes the permeability of smog so dangerous isn't even that it affects everyone living in the city that generates this harmful level of pollution. Smog clouds can be blown by the wind to neighboring cities, states, and even nations. That causes severely damaging effects on a broad scale. Innocent bystanders who contributed very little or not at all to the smog cloud are suffering its devastation. 

In addition to the fact that it affects everyone in the city, smog can also cause serious respiratory problems detrimental to people's lives. These severe health concerns include coughing, chest pains, and irritation to the throat and lungs. Some of these symptoms develop into far more critical issues like depleted lung functions. If your lungs suffer a weakened state, it makes exercise more difficult and can increase the frequency of asthma occurrences and asthma attacks.

Besides the issues surrounding lung capacity and asthma attacks, recent studies indicate that smog can also contain carcinogens which are instrumental in the development of many types of throat and lung cancers.

Unfortunately, humans are not the only forms of life affected by smog. Pets such as dogs and cats suffer the same types of smog-related symptoms. Plants are not immune to the poisonous fog either. Between the particles present in the smog and the inhibited sunlight, plants tend to suffer discoloration, damage, and loss of leaves. All three of these problems inhibit photosynthesis, the process of turning carbon dioxide back into oxygen, which is necessary for the life of the plant.

More Stories By Marisa Caity

With a Communications degree from ASU, Marisa has background in sports management, media writing and event planning. She has passion for the sports industry, social media, and live music.

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