January 17, 2007

Natural Resource Defence council on air pollution

As many as 64,000 premature deaths occur each year from cardiopulmonary causes attributable to particulate air pollution, according to NRDC estimates. Most particulate emissions result from burning fossil fuels -- coal, oil, diesel, gasoline -- or wood. Old coal-fired power plants, industrial boilers, diesel and gas-powered vehicles and wood stoves are some of the worst culprits.

Used in motor fuels, solvents, detergents, pesticides and many other substances, benzene is a carcinogen that causes leukemia as well as a number of other illnesses. Virtually the entire U.S. population is exposed to benzene in at least small amounts -- at gas stations (it's in the gasoline), in diesel exhaust or from cigarette smoke, including second-hand smoke. Benzene also a problem in a number of workplaces, including oil refineries, coal-coking operations at steel mills, chemical processing plants, rubber manufacturing plants and laboratories, where it is often used as a solvent for other chemicals

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