Environmental Science SCI204 Section G
Spring 2007 A
Subject: Emission Testing
April 22, 2007
With this paper I hope to gain a better understanding of emission pollution and the emission testing process. With my research and my visit to the local Clean Air Car Check site, I have compiled information that will prove valuable. I will define emission pollution and the major contributors. I will answer the why we have to emission test. I will also take you through the testing process. My overall goal of this paper is to ascertain whether or not emission testing is an effective way to reduce or prevent emission pollution when one owns a vehicle. Emission Pollution
Emissions describe the gases and particles that are released into the air by many different sources, including vehicles. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) web site, the sources of emissions are put into four categories: point, mobile, biogenic, and area. Point sources include factories, mobile sources include vehicles, biogenic sources include gas seeps, and area sources include dry cleaners (EPA, 2006). For this paper, we will focus on mobile sources.
Driving is the most polluting thing that we can do. The National Safety Council (NSC) states that motor vehicles release millions of tons of pollutants, classified as toxics, into the air each year. These toxics cause around 1,500 cases of cancer every year. Car emissions also contribute to acid rain and global warming (NSC, 2006).
Vehicles emanate three major pollutants: hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide. The Coalition for Clean Air (CCA) web site states that hydrocarbons are defined as compounds containing various combinations of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Nitrogen Oxides pertain to compounds of nitric acid, nitrogen dioxide, and other oxides of nitrogen. They are typically created during combustion processes, and are major contributors to smog and acid deposition (CCA, 2007). The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) website displays the text book, Chemicals, the Environment and You. They define carbon monoxide as a colorless, odorless poison gas produced by incomplete combustion of organic matter (NIEHS, 2000).
The Clean Air Car Check (CACC) web site says, “Cars and light duty trucks contribute 30-50 % of the pollution that cause harmful ozone and also contribute significantly to the amount of air toxics and particulate matter in the environment” (CACC, n.d.). They also state that if our vehicles are properly maintained, there will be less contamination released in the air and ground water (CACC, n.d.).
What effect does emission pollution have on our environment? The Clean Air Car Check answers this by stating, Hydrocarbons are unburned gasoline particles that contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, often referred to as smog. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas formed from partially burned fuel that can adversely affect mental function, visual focus, alertness, and can even cause death. Nitrogen oxides, when mixed with other compounds, can contribute to ground level ozone, acid rain, water quality deterioration and global warming. Ozone is an irritant produced from emissions from gasoline powered vehicles. It can cause eye and throat irritations, respiratory distress, and damage breathing passages, making it difficult for the lungs to work. Ozone is formed near the ground in a photochemical process: 1) Gasoline, paints and solvents evaporate, thereby releasing hydrocarbons. 2) Cars and factories burn fossil fuels, releasing nitrogen oxide and reactive hydrocarbons. 3) Heat and sunlight trigger a photochemical reaction between these emissions, transforming them into ozone (CACC, n.d.). Emission Testing
The time is here again; time to take the car in to be emission tested. What a pain in the neck! You might think that emission testing is a...