Cornwall Air Quality Forum

Nitrogen monoxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) together represent the traffic-produced nitrogen oxides (NOx). Although they are generated in the atmosphere by natural sources, (e.g. lightning), the major man-made sources is the combustion of fossil fuels and, in particular, the internal combustion engine. On a national scale, current estimates show that road transport accounts for 46% of the total UK emissions of nitrogen oxides. Most importantly for this study nitrogen dioxide can be used as a marker for traffic-related air pollution.

In the Review of the National Air Quality Strategy (NAQS 1999) the UK Government has proposed a new hourly mean objective for nitrogen dioxide of 104.6 ppb to be achieved by 2005 (as opposed to the existing objective of 150 ppb) and an annual mean of 21 ppb to be achieved by 2005. These objectives apply for non-occupational, near-ground level, outdoor locations where people might reasonably be expected to be exposed over the relevant averaging period.

Nitrogen dioxide can cause damage to cell membranes and proteins and may also increase reactivity to natural allergens. Additionally, short-term exposures can have a detrimental affect on the immune cells of the airway in a manner that may cause predisposed people to suffer an increased risk of respiratory infections. Exposure to low levels of nitrogen dioxide may put children at increased risk of respiratory infection and may lead to poorer lung function in later life (Mukala 1999).

Click here to read the full report

You need the latest Acrobat Reader to view these report. If you don’t have one, please download here.

To view the document later, right click on the link and save the file on your computer.

Related Post