Toxic air pollutants, also known as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), are chemical compounds that are known or suspected carcinogens and or mutagens. Emission of toxic pollutants into the ambient air present a serious threat to public health and the environment.
The reduction of air toxic emissions and the associated risks from all emission sources is the focus of Broward County's Urban Air Toxics Strategy.
Public Health Effects
Prolonged exposure to air toxics pollutants at ample ambient air concentrations result in:
• Immunological problems
• Neurological problems
• Respiratory problems
• Reproductive problems
Deposition of air toxics into soil, lakes, and streams affect the ecological systems and eventually human health due to consumption of contaminated food. Accidental releases of air toxics into the ambient air in substantially potent quantities can be an immediate threat to human health.
What are Toxic Air Pollutants?
Toxic air pollutants fall into four categories:
- Semi-volatile compounds (SVCs)
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
How are toxic air pollutants emitted?
Toxic air pollutants are emitted by natural events (forest fires, volcanoes) as well as from industrial and mobile sources. Many household items are also major contributors to air toxics in the ambient air, including paints, cleaning products, pesticides, and plastic foam products.
Many toxic compounds have well established carcinogenic thresholds, and are regulated by industry specific standards promulgated under the Clean Air Act Amendment (CAAA) of 1990. However, these standards only apply to large industrial sources and do not address the vast number of small industry sources and mobile sources which also contribute substantially to air toxic emissions.