Air toxics (also called hazardous air pollutants) are those air
pollutants that are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious
health effects, such as reproductive and birth defects. The degree to
which a toxic air pollutant affects a person's health depends on many
factors including the quantity and toxicity of the pollutant to which
the person is exposed as well as the duration and frequency of exposure.
Air toxics can come from natural sources (e.g., radon gas
coming up from the ground) or man-made sources such as motor
vehicles and industrial processes. Air toxics that
deposit onto soil or into lakes and streams can affect
ecological systems and eventually human health through
consumption of contaminated food.
Clean Air Act targets 188 toxic air pollutants for emissions
reduction. Examples include benzene, which is found in
gasoline; perchloroethylene, which is emitted from some dry
cleaning facilities; and methylene chloride, which is used as
a solvent and paint stripper by a number of industries.
Other examples are dioxin, asbestos, and metals such as
mercury, chromium, and lead. The Florida Department of
Environmental Protection ensures that industries in the state
comply with the limits on toxic air pollutant emissions
established under the Clean Air Act.
August 04, 2014