Air pollutants and environmental health laws

Air pollutants have been documented to harm people in a variety of ways. Indoor air pollutants are an important source of exposure since so much of modern life occurs indoors. Figure 10–16 in your textbook shows key sources of indoor air pollution but omits an important one—tobacco. The Clean Air Act and other US agencies regulate outdoor air pollutants and environmental health laws. Industry is one source of air pollution, emitting a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), combustion products, and other toxic compounds. Households are also a significant air pollution source. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data show that even though today’s cars emit 75%–90% less pollution per mile than cars in 1970, motor vehicles account for more than half of all the outdoor air pollution in the United States today. These emissions include 45% of VOC pollution (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2010).

In your response, address the following:

  • Summarize briefly the amount and types of pollutants released from a local industry. Search the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) (available at as follows:
    • Scroll down and enter your county in all capital letters and your state’s two-letter abbreviation in capital letters. Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click search. This will result in a chart of EPA-regulated facilities that are included in the TRI (if your county has none, choose another county in your state).
    • Click one of the TRI Facility ID numbers. This will show identifying information about the facility as well as chemical releases, including the following:
      • A chart showing the total pounds of air emissions and other emissions by year for the facility as a whole. At the bottom of the chart, you may click a button to see the graphical representation of this information.
      • A chart showing the total pounds of emissions by year of specific chemicals. For information about the health hazards chemicals released in large quantities, look them up at Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR’s) ToxFAQs section.
  • Use the EPA calculator (available at to estimate the annual emissions from your household, based on your heating system, the number of people in your household, and the amount of driving they do. Briefly describe your findings when you use the calculator.
  • Discuss what you think the next public health approaches should be for managing the hazards from air pollution, based on your findings on emissions information.


United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2010). Sources of pollutants in the ambient air—Mobile sources. Retrieved from

Requirements: 2-3 pages

Answer preview

Furthermore, the number of people in my household is four, and electricity is a significant heating energy source. On average, the estimated pounds of carbon emissions annually are 2,726 lbs. Natural gas use amounts to 3,090 lbs; fuel usage accounts for 4,859 lbs and propane at 2,234 lbs. In total, the annual carbon footprint amounts to 21, 032 lbs (EPA, 2021). From these findings, the calculator shows that my household’s carbon footprint is commendable since it is lower than the US average of 75,718 lbs. In the transportation segment, my household has one vehicle, and the current maintenance is already done. The gas mileage rate in California as of 2020 is 57.5. Hence, with an average mileage of 15,500 per year, the carbon emissions amount to 5,356 lbs (EPA, 2021).

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Air pollutants and environmental health laws