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Dirty Windows In Urban Areas May Be Hidden Contributors To Air Pollution

Date:
May 14, 2007
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The grime that accumulates on windows, buildings, roads, and other surfaces in urban areas could be an important source of nitrogen oxide air pollutants, scientists in Canada conclude in a new report. Nitrogen oxides, emitted in the burning of fossil fuels, combine with other air pollutants termed volatile organic compounds to form smog.

The grime that accumulates on windows, buildings, roads, and other surfaces in urban areas could be an important source of nitrogen oxide air pollutants, scientists in Canada conclude in a new report. Nitrogen oxides, emitted in the burning of fossil fuels, combine with other air pollutants termed volatile organic compounds to form smog.

In the report, D. J. Donaldson and colleagues point out that air pollution researchers have been focusing on urban surface films, often termed "window grime," as a potential contributor to air pollution. The films contain nitrogen compounds, which disappear at rates that can’t be explained by obvious losses due to rain washout. In addition, traditional models of urban air pollution suggest that there must be an important but unrecognized source for one nitrogen compound involved in smog formation.

Their study presents experimental evidence suggesting that windows and other surfaces in urban areas may be sites where "inactive" nitrogen oxides may be transformed into "active" forms and be released to the atmosphere. This transformation may occur in a process triggered by sunlight shining on film-covered surfaces, the report notes.

Article: "Photochemical Loss of Nitric Acid on Organic Films: A Possible Recycling Mechanism for NOx", American Chemical Society, Environmental Science & Technology, Scheduled for publication June 15, 2007.


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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American Chemical Society. "Dirty Windows In Urban Areas May Be Hidden Contributors To Air Pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514095523.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2007, May 14). Dirty Windows In Urban Areas May Be Hidden Contributors To Air Pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514095523.htm
American Chemical Society. "Dirty Windows In Urban Areas May Be Hidden Contributors To Air Pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514095523.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

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