How is air pollution measured?


Quick Answer

In the United States, the amount of air pollutants in the atmosphere can be directly measured by anyone using instruments such as the GASPer air quality monitor, area's immediate reading, or AIR device and sun photometer. Common examples of air pollution include smog, vehicular and power plant emissions and acid rain.

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Full Answer

Air pollution pertains to the contamination of the atmosphere due to the presence of harmful substances that pose serious health and environmental problems. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, in the U.S. has categorized six major types of air pollutants, which include sulfur dioxide, lead, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, mercury and ozone, which is generated when nitrogen oxide chemically combine with volatile organic compounds.

The GASPer portable monitor is attached to physical sensors and programmed by a computer to detect and measure particulates, ozone, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. It gathers real-time data on average, maximum and minimum concentration levels of the pollutants present in the air. It can also yield information that go beyond EPA guidelines.

The hand-held AIR device can measure carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and surface ozone. This instrument also provides real-time information and even pinpoints the general source of air pollution. A sun photometer indirectly measures the amount of aerosol particles in the air.

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