Air toxics, also known as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), are air pollutants that are known or suspected to cause health problems such as cancer, neurological problems, and respiratory illness. The EPA has listed 187 pollutants as HAPs and is working to reduce their levels.
How are people exposed to air toxics?
People can be directly exposed to air toxics by breathing air contaminated with air toxics. However, there are other ways in which exposure can occur, including:
- Eating food products that have been contaminated by air toxics, including vegetables grown in soil where air toxics have been deposited
- Drinking water that has been contaminated by air toxics
- Young children swallowing contaminated soil due to dirt on their hands or on items that they place in their mouths
What are the health effects of air toxics?
Health effects from air toxics occur when a person breathes or swallows a sufficient amount of certain pollutants. This does not necessarily occur at a single time. Instead, some air toxics can slowly build up in a person’s body over a long period of time. The health effects of air toxics depend upon the air toxic that a person is exposed to but can include neurological, immune, reproductive, and respiratory conditions, developmental problems, and cancer.
Metro East Community Air Project
1 Regency Plaza
Collinsville, IL 62234