HomeBlogHow Is Smog Created? Our Experts Explain

How Is Smog Created? Our Experts Explain

Although smog is omnipresent, there were times when people could breathe fresh air and didn’t have to worry about harmful substances like sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ground-level ozone, PM 2.5 or PM 10. Wondering what is smog and how is it formed? Read today’s article!

What is smog and how is it formed?

The term smog was coined in the 1900s as the combination of the words smoke and fog. In the past, smog was usually produced by coal and could be observed mainly in industrial areas.

Since then, a lot has changed. Although we still see the combination of smoke and fog near plants and big manufacturing buildings, there is also the so-called photochemical smog that appears when nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds interact with sunlight.

Nowadays, nitrogen oxide is produced because of vehicle exhaust fumes, plants that use coal, and various emissions from manufacturing buildings.

On the other hand, volatile organic compounds appear because we use petrol, cleaning products, and paints.

When these two substances interact with sunlight, they form ground-level ozone, and smog.

how is smog formed

Why is smog dangerous?

Although smog is a kind of shield that protects us against harmful UV radiation, the combination of smoke and fog can be extremely dangerous for health.

Long-term exposure to polluted air and smog may cause:

  • asthma,
  • problems with concentration,
  • heart attacks,
  • respiratory conditions,
  • circulatory conditions,
  • allergies,
  • miscarriages,
  • strokes,
  • nausea,
  • respiratory difficulties,
  • cancer,
  • or even premature death.

Keeping this in mind, it’s worth taking appropriate steps to limit our exposure to harmful substances and monitoring the air pollution index.

How can you improve the situation?

Now, when you know how smog is formed, you may want to take special measures to protect your health:

  1. Use public transportation instead of driving to work,
  2. Fuel up your vehicle in the evening or in the morning when it’s colder to prevent the production of ozone,
  3. Don’t heat your home with harmful substances, colourful magazines or cardboard.

How is smog created? The takeaway

Smog is created as a result of interaction between nitrogen oxide, sunlight, and volatile organic compounds. The substance can be extremely dangerous for health, therefore, it’s advisable to limit our exposure to it whenever possible.

Want to learn how to improve air quality in your community? Read our entry!

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