Earth Science

Human Impacts on the Earth Environment

Effects of Air Pollution

Study Tip
Air pollution is one of the most obvious forms of pollution in our environment.

Effects on the Environment

  • Particulates can reduces visibility and create smog.
  • Smog reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground, altering the overall temperature of an area.
Study Tip
Air pollution is one of the most obvious forms of pollution in our environment.
  • Ozone also reduces plant productivity and kills plants that are sensitive to it, which affects ecosystems.
  • Oxides such as nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and sulfur oxide create acids that lead to acid rain. Acid rain damages plants and aquatic ecosystems.

Effects on Humans

  • Excessive amounts of lead can cause lead poisoning.
  • Carbon monoxide can be deadly in a poorly ventilated space.
  • Oxides, ozone, and particulates can cause lung cancer, asthma, heart disease, and other illnesses in humans.
  • Diseases from air pollutants are rising every year.
Sky in New York City
Smog coats the sky in New York City
Concept Check
  • What are the effects of particulates on the environment?
  • What causes acid rain? What happens to the environment?
  • What are some effects on health caused by pollutants?