What Makes Air Unhealthy | American Lung Association

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What Makes Air Unhealthy

Whether it comes from your car's exhaust pipe, dirty smokestacks or a forest fire, air pollution can be deadly. Learn about sources of pollution and how they can be cleaned up so everyone can breathe safer, healthier air.

Sources of Air Pollution

  • Electric Utilities
    Electric utilities burning coal, natural gas, oil and biomass produce air pollutants that harm lung health.
  • Transportation
    Vehicles and equipment used to move people, goods and fuel from one place to another can pollute the air and harm human health.
  • Residential Sources
    Heating, cooling and powering our homes all produce emissions that can harm health, including in our own neighborhoods.
  • Commercial and Industrial
    Harmful emissions come from heating, cooling and powering businesses and industrial operations, as well as from manufacturing processes.
  • Emergencies and Natural Disasters
    Wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and other natural events can create unhealthy air, especially for people with lung disease. And the cleanup often adds to the challenge.
  • Climate Change
    Climate change poses a grave health threat to everyone, with serious risks to lung health.

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