The Open Door Web Site
Facts and Figures Index
FACTS AND FIGURES
Factory chimneys, Avonmouth, Bristol, UK
In industrialized countries, particularly in the cities, the air is polluted with harmful substances. Dangerous gases are released into the atmosphere by factories and traffic. The main polluting gases are carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide. Car exhaust fumes in Paris alone release over 6000 tonnes of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere in one year.
New York metropolis 1992
Sulphur dioxide dissolves in water to form sulphuric acid. This acid can damage the lungs if it is breathed in.
Sometimes an awful accident occurs when a dangerous gas leaks into the atmosphere from a factory. This happened in India in 1986. Thousands of people died or were seriously affected because of a gas leak from a chemical factory.
Traffic, Beijing, China
Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas because it takes the place of oxygen in the blood and it does not leave the blood to go to the respiring cells. To make matters worse, it does not allow oxygen to take its place. Carbon monoxide is formed when fuels, such as oil or wood, are burnt in a limited supply of oxygen gas. If there is a fire in a mine, a lot of carbon monoxide is produced. This is very dangerous for miners because carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless, and the miners breathe it into their lungs without knowing it. Car exhaust fumes and cigarettes also produce carbon monoxide.
A person who has breathed in a lot of carbon monoxide cannot be revived by giving him oxygen gas. A blood transfusion would be needed urgently.
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