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    EU urban NO2 atlas

Nitrogen oxides and fine dust damage our health

A large number of studies show that the current pollution of the air we breathe with fine dust and nitrogen oxides is harmful to our health. It is not always possible to analyse precisely whether the cause is more one or the other, as both often occur together.

Fine dust has little to do with what collects on cupboards and shelves in the home. The scientists understand it to mean tiny particles floating in the air with a diameter of less than ten micrometers – a hundredth of a millimeter. These are soot particles, tyre, clutch and brake dust, plastic particles, residues from fertilisation or waste disposal, pollen, dust from building sites or bulk loading. Dust from building sites causes increased fine dust values as well as abrasion from brakes and tyres.
Nitrogen oxides damage the lungs and heart and cause serious illnesses.

Nitrogen oxides are mainly emitted as nitrogen monoxide (NO). In the atmosphere they oxidize to nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This attacks the human mucous membranes and therefore irritates the respiratory tract.
High concentrations (more than 200 micrograms per cubic meter of air) can cause acute inflammation – which in the long term can lead to asthma and chronic bronchitis.