The word "smog" is a combination of the words "smoke" and "fog." It originally referred strictly to a combination of exactly those two things. Nowadays, however, the word "smog" refers more loosely to any mixture of air pollutants, including gas and fine particles that congregate in the air, usually around populated areas. Smog can cause health problems and is a serious environmental issue.
Traditionally smog came from the smoke produced by burning coal in factories and house stoves. That is what caused the smog that Victorian London was infamous for. In modern times, smog is "photochemical air pollution" caused by the burning of fuel in factories and power plants (as well as other industrial production), and using volatile substances such as gasoline and paint, which release light-blocking chemicals into the atmosphere.
Acute symptoms of adverse smog exposure include irritation to the eyes, nose and throat. The eyes may become red and watery. The nose may itch or run. The throat may become parched and scratchy. Long-term exposure may worsen existing heart and lung conditions, and in the worst cases may shorten one's life span. Smog is thought to be one of the causes of lung cancer. People are advised to stay indoors on high smog days.
Smog can be decreased by limiting those processes that create it. In the United States, where huge amounts of smog are produced, action is being taken to reduce smog levels. Governments are combating smog in several ways. Laws are encouraging producers of automobiles to develop cars that produce less smog, and chemical companies are being watched over and restricted from producing certain harmful substances. In addition to national solutions which often deal with large plants that produce smog, local and individual efforts are underway as well. Many communities and their governments are attempting to restrict usage of dangerous products such as barbecues, house...
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