Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gas from pollutants, forest fires at potentially toxic levels

Date:
July 16, 2012
Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
Forest fires and emission of air pollutants, which include fumes from vehicles running on diesel and slow burning of coal and charcoal, release isocyanic acid in the troposphere. In 2011, scientists first detected isocyanic acid in the ambient atmosphere at levels that are toxic to human populations; at concentrations exceeding 1 parts-per-billion by volume (ppbv), human beings could experience tissue decay when exposed to the toxin.

Forest fires and emission of air pollutants, which include fumes from vehicles running on diesel and slow burning of coal and charcoal, release isocyanic acid in the troposphere. In 2011, scientists first detected isocyanic acid in the ambient atmosphere at levels that are toxic to human populations; at concentrations exceeding 1 parts-per-billion by volume (ppbv), human beings could experience tissue decay when exposed to the toxin.

For the first time, using a chemical transport model designed to estimate the distribution and budget of isocyanic acid in the troposphere, Young et al. show that in several parts of the world, local emissions may increase the concentration of isocyanic acid in ambient atmosphere, thereby exposing large populations to potentially toxic levels of the acid.

Their research shows that regions that experience large forest fires, such as tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, Siberia, Canada, and the Amazon, or are heavily polluted, like China, are particularly vulnerable. In these regions, concentrations of isocyanic acid in the atmosphere exceeded the 1 ppbv limit for about 7-90 days per year. Their model also predicts that doubling the rate of air pollutant emission, particularly in heavily polluted regions of China, could increase the exposure of humans in the region to more than 170 days per year to isocyanic acid levels exceeding 1 ppbv.

On the basis of their study, the authors recommend more observations to improve estimates on global distribution of isocyanic acid in the atmosphere, particularly in regions experiencing large wild fires, where their model predicts the highest acid concentrations. Further, the authors suggest that scientists need to conduct research into indoor air pollution from the use of cooking stoves, which likely expose women and children to high levels of isocyanic acid.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul. J. Young, Louisa K. Emmons, James M. Roberts, Jean-Franηois Lamarque, Christine Wiedinmyer, Patrick Veres, Trevor C. VandenBoer. Isocyanic acid in a global chemistry transport model: Tropospheric distribution, budget, and identification of regions with potential health impacts. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2012; 117 (D10) DOI: 10.1029/2011JD017393

Cite This Page:

American Geophysical Union. "Gas from pollutants, forest fires at potentially toxic levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716214857.htm>.
American Geophysical Union. (2012, July 16). Gas from pollutants, forest fires at potentially toxic levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716214857.htm
American Geophysical Union. "Gas from pollutants, forest fires at potentially toxic levels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716214857.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins