The Good Air Lady
The Good Air Lady
talks about what you breathe
indoors and out

Causes of Air Pollution

The causes of air pollution are numerous and diverse. Some air pollution sources are controllable, and even possibly erased, but some are out of human control. Nature can do as much to pollute the air we breathe as man can, and the only thing we can do about it is to find ways to clean indoor air. But manmade pollution can and should be controlled to ensure we don't outstrip mother nature in causing air pollution.

Air pollution is a hot topic for politicians and citizens alike all over the world. It is not just the outside air that people are concerned with, either. Inside air is just as polluted, and maybe even more so. That is one reason it is important for everyone who breathes to learn more about the causes of air pollution and learn about what they can do to help prevent and cut down on it.

Outdoor causes of air pollution vary from anthropogenic (manmade) to natural, but the good news is that some of these causes have been modified to cause less of an impact on the air outdoors. For example, the normal car driven around in 1960 caused more pollution than 20 new model cars do today. These little reworkings of engines and the changes in the policies of automobile makers, manufacturers, and other industries have caused a huge decrease in the amount of outdoor pollution and this is wonderful news. Now for the bad news -- there is still work to do.

Here is a list of a few anthropogenic (manmade) causes of pollution:

  • automobiles
  • combustion fired electrical plants
  • wood, coal, or natural gas fireplaces
  • ships
  • manufacturers and industries
  • fumes from paint, varnish, or aerosol sprays

  • Natural causes of pollution include:

  • dust that comes from dry land with little vegetation
  • volcanic activity
  • fire burning
  • pine trees


  • No, there will never be a time where there is no pollution, but it can be decreased significantly if everyone works together. How can we help?

  • Drive your car wisely by avoiding unnecessary driving, keeping your car properly tuned up, and watching your speed. You may also want to consider one of the many electric-hybrid cars that are available.

  • Support environmental policy set by lawmakers. See what the particular issues are that your lawmaker stands on and see if he or she supports taking care of the environment.

  • Research and learn about environmental pollution to see if there are things that you can do in your corner of the world.


  • Indoor air pollution is just as, if not more, important than outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution is largely caused by lack of airflow between the inside and outside of our homes and businesses. The pollutants build up in this airtight atmosphere and then can cause significant impacts on your health. Some pollutants that may be found inside your home include:

  • tobacco smoke

  • nitrogen dioxide, given off by improperly vented gas appliances, wood stoves, or fireplaces

  • volatile organic compounds (VOC's), given off by new carpeting, paint and other finishes, and various building materials


  • Air purifiers may be able to remove some of these pollutants and some allergens like mold, mildew, pollen, and pet dander, but it is virtually impossible to clean the air completely. That's why you need to be careful with what items you bring into your home and how you vent your home appliances.

    The causes of air pollution are wide and varied. By becoming more knowledgeable about pollution sources, you can decrease your impact on the environment and your exposure to the pollution. If you learn and react to your knowledge, you will be on your way to making the world a better place and the air cleaner for you, your family, and for future generations.