Some gaseous pollutant and its chronic effect on human body

Serial No. Gaseous pollutant name Source Impacts on Human Body
Carbon Dioxide (CO) 
  • visual impairment;
  • reduced work capacity;
  • reduced manual dexterity;
  • poor learning ability;
  • difficulty in performing complex tasks.


Carbon Dioxide (CO2)  Carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant that would harm our health but it is a proven greenhouse gas. It has an ability to absorb infrared radiation that is escaping from the surface of the earth causing the atmosphere to warm up. Excessive emission of CO2 along with other greenhouse gases is thought to contribute to the undesirable climate change.
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)  Short-term exposure

  • Adults and children with asthma who are active outdoors will experience temporary breathing impairment.
  • Individuals with asthma may experience breathing difficulties with moderate activity and may exhibit symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath.

Long-term exposure (along with high levels of PM)

  • Aggravation of existing cardiovascular disease
  • Respiratory illness
  • Alterations in the lungs’ defenses


Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)  NOx react in the air to form ground-level ozone and fine particulates, which are associated with adverse health effects.

  • Short-term exposures (e.g., less than 3 hours) to low levels of NO2may lead to changes in airway responsiveness and lung function in individuals with preexisting respiratory illnesses. These exposures may also increase respiratory illnesses in children.
  • Long-term exposures to NO2 may lead to increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and may cause irreversible alterations in lung structure.


Particulate Matter (PM)  Particles of concern can include both fine and coarse-fraction particles, although fine particles have been more clearly linked to the most serious health effects.

  • Particles larger than 2 micro meters (µm) do not penetrate beyond the nasal cavity or trachea.
  • Particles smaller than 0.1 µm tend to deposit in tracheobronchia tree and are removed when exhaling.
  • Particles between 0.1 and 2.0 µm penetrate deep into the lungs and settle in respiratory bronchioles or alveolar sacs


Volatile organic Compound (VOC) Health effects may include:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include:

  • conjunctival irritation
  • nose and throat discomfort
  • headache
  • allergic skin reaction
  • dyspnea
  • declines in serum cholinesterase levels
  • nausea
  • emesis
  • epistaxis
  • fatigue
  • dizziness


Short-term studies have shown independent effects of ozone (O3) especially in the summer. Independently of the effects of other pollutants, ozone exposure influences pulmonary function, lung inflammation, lung permeability, respiratory symptoms, levels of medication usage, morbidity, and mortality.
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