Air Pollutants Released By Households And By An Industry Near You

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.

Support your answers with appropriate research and reasoning and initiate comments on the postings of at least two of your peers.


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

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Summarized briefly the amount and types of pollutants released from a local industry.
  • Described the findings from using the EPA calculator.
  • Discussed the potential approaches for managing hazards from air pollution.
  • Supported answers with appropriate research and reasoning and initiated comments on the postings of at least two peers.
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