Meteorological forecasting and dispersion modeling of air pollutants are essential to understanding the movement and buildup of air pollution; the carrying capacity of airsheds; the interaction of pollutants; and the location of maximum impact of sources of pollution.
As of September 26, 2005 there are no longer any areas of Washington designated as "NONATTAINMENT."
Hundreds of other chemicals, known as toxic or hazardous air pollutants, enter the atmosphere from a wide variety of sources but are not subject to ambient, health-based standards. Because of limited air quality data, the level of public health and environmental damage caused by toxic air pollutants is largely unknown.
Air pollution causes lung disease and worsens existing respiratory and cardiopulmonary disease, sometimes hastening death for persons afflicted with such diseases. Hundreds of studies find that short and long-term exposures to air pollution increase respiratory symptoms, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and medication use; decrease lung function; and create school absences, work loss days, and restricted activity days.
Air pollution increases chronic respiratory illness; increases the overall death rate; increases the likelihood of contracting cancer; and decreases lung function in children, pre-disposing them to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as adults.
Air pollution affects the environment and quality of life in many ways including: damage to soils, water, crops, vegetation, manmade materials, property, animals, and wildlife; impairment of visibility, climate and weather; and hazards to transportation, as well as adversely affecting economic values and personal comfort and well-being.
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.html.