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

Sources of Air Pollution

Sources of air pollution are abundant. So much of what modern society creates and does creates air pollution. Learning what the sources are will let you make better choices and live a healthier life.

Air pollution is a problem that is evident in almost every part of the world. Many people do not think much about this problem, but it is important to spread the word about air pollution to help make the world better and healthier, both inside and outside. Learning more about the sources of air pollution will enable you to make better choices to help make the environment cleaner.

What are some sources of air pollution? Here some of the most common ones:


  • Fossil Fuel Burning

  • Fuel Combustion

  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)

  • Carbon Monoxide


Fossil Fuel Burning


Fossil fuel burning is one of the major sources of outdoor air pollution. This is caused by transportation, factories, industries, and power plants, among other things. This source of air pollution affects cities as well as the rural areas due to the wind blowing the pollution out of the city.

The major pollutants that are released by fossil fuel burning are soot, ash, sulfur oxides, and other pollutants that cause smog in the environment. These oxides have a significant impact on the environment, including tarnishing silver, killing plants, rusting iron, and damaging building stone. This is one pollutant that governments have made a dent in regulating with restrictions, but there is always room to improve, especially in the more underdeveloped countries.

Fuel Combustion

Pollution that comes from fuel combustion includes many different sources. Wood burning fireplaces and the incineration of garbage can be big contributors. The pollutants that are released by this source of pollution include gaseous hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and various particulates like lead and ash. This source of air pollution can be decreased significantly if people are only willing to change. Finding other ways to create ambiance or heat, and to dispose of trash will help clean our air. In fact, trash disposal can become a way of generating electricity and not contributing to landfills.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are a major source of pollution both inside and out. These compounds are found in soil and groundwater, and their vapors help to contribute to the air pollution in the environment. The outdoor VOCs are separated into two groups: methane and non-methane compounds. Methane is a huge contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming. Indoor VOCs include furniture, finishes, paint and wood strippers, plastics, and many cleaning products. These items can cause health problems if they are in high concentration in your home.

When using items that contain VOCs inside your home it is very important that you do your work in a well-ventilated area to help minimize your exposure. When storing these items, it is important to store them in a well-ventilated area out of the reach of children. By using some common sense with dealing with these cleaners, paint strippers, and other items, you will help to keep them out of the environment as much as possible.

Better yet, find low-VOC and non-harmful alternatives to the off-gassing products used so commonly indoors. Most VOCs come from petroleum-based products. So many of the carpets, paints, finishes, and furnishings we bring into our homes and offices are filled with chemicals that off-gas long after you buy them. Not only will you improve the health of the people using the indoor spaces, but you'll reduce our reliance on fossil fuels if you find healthier alternatives to your purchases.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is another pollutant that is of special concern when you are discussing air pollution. Due to the fact that it is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas, it is difficult to determine whether it is in your home or business without testing. Carbon monoxide is a problem outdoors as well as indoors.

The sources of carbon monoxide vary greatly, but the most common ones are unvented kerosene or gas heaters, faulty furnaces, tobacco smoke, and car exhaust from attached garages. In low levels of pollution, people are usually affected by a headache and other flu-like symptoms. High levels of carbon monoxide can cause more significant health problems, including death. Buying a carbon monoxide detector and installing it inside of your home will help you catch this pollutant before it's a deadly problem in your home.

Learning more about the sources of air pollution will help you to determine how you can make a difference in the environment. By making simple changes in your life to help the environment, then you can make the world cleaner and healthier for generations to come.