(2 of 3)
What are the health and environmental effects of
toxic air pollutants?
People exposed to toxic air pollutants at sufficient
concentrations and durations may have an increased chance of
getting cancer or experiencing other serious health effects.
Both high values and annual means of air toxics concentrations
are of interest because some air toxics have both episodic,
short-term health effects and chronic, long-term health effects.
Other health effects can include damage to the immune system,
as well as neurological, reproductive (e.g., reduced fertility),
developmental, respiratory, and other health problems.
Some toxic air pollutants, such as mercury, can deposit onto
soils or surface waters where they are taken up by plants and
ingested by animals and are eventually magnified up through
the food chain.
Animals may experience health problems if exposed to
sufficient quantities of air toxics over time.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2007c, g)