Week 11: Managing Environmental Health Risks: Ambient air pollution and noise

Before starting, I would like to note that I didn’t attend this week lesson so there may be something I miss, sorry. D”:

This week topic concerns one of the 21st Century Health Problems: Air pollution, or to be more specific, ambient air pollution (and noise).

First, let’s take a look at ambient air pollution.

Ambient air pollution come from 3 sources:

–Chemical: The contaminants come from nature or human activities include:

  • sulfur dioxide (SO2),
  • nitrogen oxides (NOx),
  • ozone (O3),
  • carbon monoxide (CO),
  • volatile organic compounds (VOC),
  • hydrogen sulfide (H2S),
  • hydrogen fluoride (HF),
  • gaseous forms of metals


–Physical (Particles)

Have you ever wondered how polluted your city is? Don’t worry, AQI is here to help you, this website is up to date and really informative.



So anyway, how do you manage this problem? According to some information I found, “the best way to control air pollution is to prevent it in the first place, by altering the processes that produce it or by substituting nonpolluting substances for those that generate contaminants”

Some controls can be implemented on a generic basic while other must be tailored to a wide range of characteristics. Managing the air pollution includes this approaches:

  • Atmospheric dilution: The dilution capacity of the local atmosphere is used to reduce the concentrations of a pollutant to an acceptable level
  • Substitution or limitation: This approach either eliminates the pollution or limits the amounts of key chemical elements available for pollutant production
  • Reduction in quantity produced
  • Process or equipment change
  • Air-cleaning technology

Next is noise pollution.

Noise is, basically a “sound, especially of a loud, harsh, or confused kind:” or a “a sound of any kind“, according to Dictionary. Personally, I found noise is kinda hard to define. It can be any sound that annoy you. For instance, when a person is happy, they find rock music is pleasant to hear but when they are stress or tired, that kind of music become annoying, so it’s noise. It’s really confuse me when thinking about this as how can I know if the sound I make is noise or not? Will it annoy people?

The pictures below show how noise affect human health and life.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho effect of noise pollution

Figure 2: Auditory and extra-auditory effects of noise

To control noise, there are legislation and laws that protect people from noise pollution. For example, in Finland:

  • Residential areas (LAeq)

–Between 7-22 (daytime) should not exceed 55 dB

–Between 22-7 (nighttime) should not exceed 50 dB, on new areas 45 dB.

  • Recreanational areas (camping sites, natural reserves…) (LAeq)

–Between 7-22 (daytime) should not exceed 45 dB

–Between 22-7 (nighttime) should not exceed 40 dB.

You can also manage noise by:

  • Remove or minimize the source: Control of specific activities that cause noise, e.g.

– Environmental permit requirements

– Permissible Sound Levels for vehicles, machinery…

  • Remove or minimize the pathway (it’s kinda impossible so maybe we can skip this)
  • Remove or minimize the exposure, e.g.:

– Land Use planning

– Environmental Impact Assessment

– Environmental Permit


References and further reading:









0674258592.01.MZZZZZZZ Environmental Health Revised Edition, Dade W. Moeller.


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