Sulfur Dioxide Pollution
- Introduction to Climate Change
- The Landmark 2007 IPCC Report on Climate Change
- 2007: Warmest Winter On Record
- 2006: Fifth warmest Year on Record
- 2005: Warmest Year on Record
- Huge ice shelf breaks off in Arctic in 2006
- The effect of nuclear war on climate
- Global Warming Causes Stratospheric Cooling
- The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
- Main Argument Against Climate Models Proven Incorrect
- Our Acidifying Oceans
- The Science of Abrupt Climate Change
- Ozone Hole
The Environmental Protection Agency uses its Air Quality Index to provide general information to the public about air quality and associated health effects. An Air Quality Index (AQI) of 100 for any pollutant corresponds to the level needed to violate the federal health standard for that pollutant. For sulfur dioxide, an AQI of 100 corresponds to 0.14 parts per million (ppm) over a 24-hour period -- the current federal standard.
|EPA Air Quality Index||Levels
|0 - 50||Good||None|
|51 - 100||None|
|101 - 150||Unhealthy for
|People with asthma should consider limiting outdoor exertion.|
|151 - 200||Unhealthy||Children, asthmatics, and people with heart or lung disease should limit outdoor exertion.|
|201 - 300||Very Unhealthy||Children, asthmatics, and people with heart or lung disease should avoid outdoor exertion; everyone else should limit outdoor exertion.|
|301 - 500||Hazardous||Children, asthmatics, and people with heart or lung disease should remain indoors; everyone else should avoid outdoor exertion.|
- Children and adults with asthma who are active outdoors are most vulnerable to the health effects of SO2. The primary effect they experience, even with a brief exposure, is a narrowing of the airways, which may cause symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Symptoms increase as SO2 concentrations and/or breathing rates increase. When exposure ceases, lung function typically returns to normal within an hour.
- At very high concentrations, SO2 may cause wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath in people who do not have asthma.
- Long-term exposure to both SO2 and fine particles can cause respiratory illness, alter the lung's defense mechanisms, and aggravate existing cardiovascular disease. People who may be most susceptible to these effects include individuals with cardiovascular disease or chronic lung disease, as well as children and the elderly.
For detailed information about real-time pollution levels in the U.S., visit the Environmental Protection Agency's Website.