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Automobile emissions control and Health effect.

Motor vehicles produce many different pollutants. The principle pollutants of concern — those that have been demonstrated to have significant effects on human, animal, plant, and environmental health and welfare — include:

* Hydrocarbons: this class is made up of unburned or partially burned fuel, and is a major contributor to urban smog, as well as being toxic. They can cause liver damage and even cancer. The regulations regarding hydrocarbons vary according to the engine regulated, as well as the jurisdiction. In some cases, “non-methane hydrocarbons” are regulated, while in other cases, “total hydrocarbons” are regulated. Technology for one application (to meet a non-methane hydrocarbon standard) may not be suitable for use in an application that has to meet a total hydrocarbon standard. Methane is not toxic, but is more difficult to break down in a catalytic converter, so in effect a “non-methane hydrocarbon” standard can be considered to be looser. Since methane is a greenhouse gas, interest is rising in how to eliminate emissions of it.
* Carbon monoxide (CO): a product of incomplete combustion, carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and is dangerous to people with heart disease.
* Nitrogen oxides (NOx): These are generated when nitrogen in the air reacts with oxygen at the high temperature and pressure inside the engine. NOx is a precursor to smog and acid rain.
* Carbon dioxide (CO2): CO2 is not a pollutant per se, but is a greenhouse gas and so plays a role in global warming. The only way to reduce CO2 emission is to burn less fuel.
* Particulates — soot or smoke made up of particles in the micrometre size range. Particulate matter causes respiratory health effects in humans and animals.
* Sulphur oxide (SOx) General term for oxides of sulphur, which are emitted from motor vehicles burning fuel containing a high concentration of sulphur.



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