Sheriff’s Office

Toxics

What are air toxics?

Air toxics are a group of air pollutants known or suspected to cause risk for serious health problems. Serious health effects include cancer and birth defects, as well as lung, immune system and nerve damage.

Air Toxic Source
Diesel Particulate Matter Diesel-fueled on-road and non-road mobile sources
Wood Smoke Particulate Matter The burning of wood, either in outdoor fires or indoor fireplaces and wood stoves Chromium Chrome electroplaters, combustion of distillate oil and on-road and non-road mobile sources Benzene On-road and non-road mobile sources, wood burning and other combustion
Carbon Tetrachloride Historically used as a solvent. No longer used commercially, but is a small by-product in sewage treatment plants Arsenic Combustion of distillate oil and combustion of chromium copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood Chloroform Water treatment plants and reservoirs
1,3-Butadiene On-road and non-road mobile sources, wood burning and other combustion Acetaldehyde On-road and non-road mobile sources, wood burning and other combustion
Tetrachloroethylene (commonly known as ‘perc’) Dry cleaners
Definitions
On-road mobile sources Includes cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles
Non-road mobile sources Includes cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles
Wood burning Includes burning wood indoors in fireplaces and wood stoves as well as outside (for example, land-clearing, yard debris or agricultural burning.)

How do air toxics impact health?

Did you know?
Adults breathe an average of 3,000 gallons of air a day.

Air toxics are associated with a broad range of health effects, including cancer. Because air toxics are primarily inhaled, many adverse health effects involve the respiratory system. Some studies have linked air toxics to asthma, a widespread respiratory disease. Other respiratory effects include lung inflammation, coughing, wheezing and reduced lung function. The cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive and immunological systems can also be affected by various air toxics.

People are affected differently by exposure to air toxics. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems or illnesses are especially susceptible.

Some air toxics are persistent and bio-accumulative, meaning they build up in the food chain and result in higher exposures with relatively lower concentrations.

Local Air Toxics Monitoring
The Polk County Air Quality Division currently monitors for air toxics at the Carpenter Health Department monitoring site.

Contact Us

Phone: (515)-286-3705
Fax: (515)-286-3437
Email: airquality@polkcountyiowa.gov
Operating Hours: 7am - 5pm / M-F
Address:
5885 NE 14 Street
Des Moines, IA 50313