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Death by Driving: The Dangers of Auto Emissions

Air Pollution

Our vehicles’ main fuels, gasoline and diesel, release energy when they are burned in the engine. This energy powers your cars and gets you going places, but the byproducts released are harmful chemicals—yes, to you and to the world out there. It’s true that no car can be complete without its exhaust system, but its emissions can be a real killer.

This is why, for years, Mother Nature has been deteriorating, as has your health. And you haven’t even noticed! Want more chunks to the claim? Well, here you go. These are the dangers we get from auto emissions:

Carbon Monoxide

Although untraceable by sight and smell, it doesn’t mean that this poisonous gas does not exist. It’s out there, born from incomplete combustion. It’s a menace that messes with your blood’s efforts to carry oxygen to your various organs, like the lungs, the heart, and the brain, also to other tissues. As proof of this, other people actually suffer a stressful day, especially with attacks of fatigue, headache, and slowed reflexes.

But that’s not all. CO poisoning does worse to the body by way of symptoms of the flu—and ultimately death. But don’t worry, that’s only at high concentrations. In lower dosages, it doesn’t get too serious—until it builds up in your system. Then, again, it’s death.

Sulfur Dioxide

It isn’t just this one; it’s the whole families of oxides that are notorious for their effects against the human body. Sulfur dioxide gets the credit though, because it usually leads to the creation of the other sulfur oxides. Plus, this baby is found in highest concentration compared to the other sulfur oxides in the atmosphere.

Created from the combustion of sulfur-containing fuels, this toxic gas mainly targets the respiratory system. It fills up air passages that cause breathing restrictions. To make matters worse, sulfur dioxide also creates small particles that rest in the lungs’ sensitive places and worsens respiratory diseases.

Bronchitis? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!

Nitrogen Dioxide

While carbon monoxide is basically invisismellible (or cannot be seen and smelled), nitrogen dioxide is a pungent-smelling gas. Basically, it means that it can easily be traced—that is if it isn’t rotten dumpster eggs you’re smelling. You don’t have to trace it though, because it’s present wherever fuel is being constantly burnt.

And because it’s practically everywhere, we are exposed to it much of the day. That then means bye-bye defenses against the dark arts of respiratory infections such as influenza. It also contributes to ozone formation, which, if you still don’t know by now, is bad—really bad.


Love is not in the air, smog is. And it comes from the combination of hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides—which is basically ozone—plus sunlight. You can also say that smog comes from smoke and fog, which kind of takes away a bit of the science.

Smog causes a lot of problems for the lungs, as in the previous toxic gases, but since it’s already in the air, it’s really difficult to escape from it. And this is because ozone exists in our atmosphere.

Way up high, as in the stratosphere, ozone is natural and is good as it filters UV light. While close to the ground, as in the troposphere, ozone is made by the combustion of engines and the emission from power plants. This, in contrast, is harmful.

While our vehicles are a big help in our everyday lives, the chemical process involved in powering them cause dire consequences. It really makes us rethink how often we use our cars and what our fuel options are. After all, it is our lives that are on the line.

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