Local air quality is an increasingly important health and environmental factor. Pollution of air can seriously influence the health of not only humans but plants, animals and even buildings.
The personal automobile is the single greatest polluter, as emissions from more than a billion vehicles on the road add up to a planet-wide problem. Driving a private car is a typical citizen's most air polluting activity. The negative effects of automotive emission are at its maximum when you sit in traffic surrounded by cars, trucks and buses with their engines idling.
The Combustion Process
Petroleum fuels are mixtures of aliphatic, aromatic and a variety of branded saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons (made of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon atoms). Nitrogen and sulphur atoms are also present and combine with oxygen when burned to produce gases.
Typical Engine Combustion Emissions;
FUEL + AIR => HYDROCARBONS + NITROGEN OXIDES + CARBON DIOXIDE + CARBON MONOXIDE + SULPHUR DIOXIDE + METALS + WATER
Petroleum Fumes on Health
Exposure to petroleum fumes has toxic effects on various organs and systems, and these include respiratory, immune and nervous systems. Organs such as the heart, lungs, skin and kidneys are affected by these toxic effects resulting in various diseases and different forms of genotoxic, mutagenic, immunotoxic, carcinogenic and neurotoxic manifestations. Increase in airborne fine particulate matter increases the risk for myocardial infarctions, strokes and heart failure.
Particle deposition in the lungs activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers the release of systemic pro-inflammatory responses. Due to the ubiquitous, continuous and often involuntary nature of exposure, airborne fine particles may be an important and under-appreciated worldwide environmental risk factor for increased arterial BP.
Hydrocarbons like benzene, metals like lead and volatile nitrates in petrol have all been shown to produce harmful effects on the bone marrow, spleen, and lymph nodes. Most often they add up to other environmental and physiological factors already known, to affect blood parameters and the resultant effect is stress. These toxic compounds destroy or inhibit the haematopoietic component in the red marrow. Benzene, which is an aromatic hydrocarbon contained in Petrol, is known to induce LEUKAEMIA during frequent exposure.
Autogas is totally Lead and Benzene FREE!
Emission Constituents and its impact on Health
The emissions from millions of vehicles add up and always stay around us.
Below are the health effects from automobile emissions:
Carbon Monoxide (CO): it’s a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas emitted from the vehicle's exhaust as a result of incomplete combustion. Most CO is produced when air-to-fuel ratios are too low in the engine during vehicle starting, when cars are not tuned properly, and at higher altitudes, where thin air reduces the amount of oxygen available for combustion. 2/3 of CO emissions come from transportation with the largest contribution coming from cars. In urban areas, the passenger vehicle contribution to carbon monoxide pollution can exceed 90%. CO interferes with the blood's ability to carry oxygen to the brain, heart, and other tissues. Unborn or newborn children and people with heart disease are in greatest danger from this pollutant, but even healthy people can experience headaches, fatigue and reduced reflexes due to CO exposure. Shown below is an illustration of CO concentration in various parts of the world. These satellite computer images are from MOPITT.
Source: www.acd.ucar.edu and NASA
Ground-level Ozone: it is the major component in what we know as SMOG. It is not emitted directly into the air but produced in the atmosphere when gases called hydrocarbons combine with nitrogen oxide compounds in the presence of sunlight. Ozone irritates the eyes, nose, throat and reacts with lung tissues in the body. It can inflame and cause harmful changes in breathing passages, decrease lungs working ability, and cause coughing and chest pains. Even healthy people are found to be sensitive to ozone exposure. Ozone smog at ground level is different from the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, which filters out harmful solar radiation.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2): it is emitted when fuel containing sulphur is burned in diesel engines. Sulfur dioxide exposure constricts air passages, creating problems for people with asthma and for young children, whose small lungs need to work harder than adults.
Nitrogen dioxide and related nitrogen oxides (NOx): Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a brownish toxic gas, a major air pollutant. The air of cities with high levels of car ownership has a distinctly brown tinge. NO2 combines with water in the air to form nitric acid- acid rain. A complex chemistry involves NO2 combining with hydrocarbons to form the photochemical smog that poisons city dwellers. Sunlight converts unburned hydrocarbons to more reactive molecules such as aldehydes and ketones which generate peroxyacyl radicals that react with NO2 forming Peroxyacyl Nitrates (PANs).
Nitrous oxide (N2O) also known as "laughing gas" has medical uses, but is a pollutant in the air. N2O for example gives rise to nitric oxide (NO) which reacts with and depletes the ozone. It is also a major greenhouse gas and air pollutant with about 300 times more global-warming potential than carbon dioxide. These compounds contribute to ozone formation and are health problems themselves. The effect of NOX exposure on the respiratory system is similar to that of ozone and sulphur dioxide.
Lead: mostly emitted from petrol engines, Lead poisoning can reduce mental ability, damage blood, nerves, and organs, and raise blood pressure. Even small ingestions or inhalations of lead can be harmful because lead accumulates in the body.
Particulate matter: it includes microscopic particles and tiny droplets of liquid. Because of their small size, these particles are not stopped in the nose and upper lungs by the body's natural defenses but go deep into the lungs, where they may become trapped and cause irritation. The WHO limit for PM (with size less than 10 microns) was 50 microgrammes per cubic meter and that of the EPA pegged it at 70 microgrammes per cubic meter, Accra records averagely between 100 and 200 microgrammes, almost 4 times the acceptable limit. There are times levels rise to as far as 1,000 microgrammes, especially during the harmattan season. Exposure to particulate matter can cause wheezing and similar symptoms in people with asthma or sensitive airways. Particulate matter also serves as a vector for toxic air pollutants.
Toxic air pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde: Benzene is the main toxin in the hydrocarbon fraction of exhaust. They are substances from automobile emissions that are known to cause or are suspected of causing cancer, genetic mutation, birth defects, or other serious illnesses in people even at relatively low levels. The chemicals can be inhaled directly or carried by small particles (dust or lint) into the lungs. Petrol engine emissions contain highest amount of these substances with zero amounts in LPG Autogas.
Impact of Pollutants on Human Internal Organs
The World Health Organization Concern
A broad scientific consensus is emerging as to the serious impacts of pollutants, including combustion-related fine particulate matter (PM), on human health. The most recent scientific findings point to the adverse health effects of some PM components, black carbon particles in particular are linked with cardiovascular health effects and premature mortality. In a press release dated 12 June 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has declared that, Diesel Causes Cancer. View Proof.
Traditional Diesel and Petrol fuel systems create dangerous carcinogens and greenhouse gases that cause 3.7 million deaths each year, making them the fourth-largest cause of premature deaths in the world. “Evidence shows that air pollution at current levels in European cities is responsible for a significant burden of deaths, hospital admissions and exacerbation of symptoms, especially for cardio-respiratory diseases. Exposure to air pollutants is largely beyond individuals’ control and requires action by public authorities at the national, regional and even international levels” - The World Health Organization (WHO).
Autogas' Position as Clean
Autogas, by virtue of its simple molecular structure, is an inherently clean alternative. After all, it contains more hydrogen and less carbon, so it is better for health and the planet as a whole. Autogas is the only fuel that can act as a bridge between our existing oil habits and a cleaner, less oil intensive future.
LPG Autogas compared to Petrol and Diesel;
EXOGAS is committed to help reduce petrol and diesel emissions drastically by converting vehicles to run on Autogas - the world’s most popular alternative fuel.