Car exhaust fumes has poisonous chemicals, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, and soot, all of which can be life threatening to the human health if consistently inhaled in large doses.
Sometimes, we see people do things that are just plain weird and make very little or no sense. I have someone who likes eating pieces of chalk, another who enjoys eating soil and the other who likes the aroma of pesticide smoke. Sometimes some pregnant women and children used to love the smell of gasoline, while some loved the smell of car exhaust fumes! Terrible
While such preferences are irrational and very odd, some are much more than that. For instance, smelling (which in turn becomes inhaling) car exhaust gases is severely harmful to the body. In the most serious cases, it can kill people who are exposed to large quantities.
As you already know, the vast majority of vehicles require oil/gas to power its engines, causing certain mechanical and chemical reactions to occur and power the vehicle. All that stuff that goes on under the hood of a car (basically the combustion of the fuel) unleashes a mixture of gases and suspended particles, which we collectively called, exhaust gas.
Bus smoke exhaust fumes
Exhaust gas accounts for the number of an automobile’s emissions, as it is basically unleash as a byproduct of the combustion of some fuels, such as diesel, petrol, natural gas, fuel oil etc. The exhaust gas of a vehicle is removed from the vehicle and unleash in the environment through what is called the exhaust pipe or propelling nozzle.
Exhaust fumes are known for being unhealthy for both humans and the environment, due to the presence of some chemical substances that are all too common for being harmful to humans. It should be known that not all components of exhaust fumes are harmful; there are also non-toxic components, including nitrogen, water vapor and carbon dioxide (although that is a greenhouse gas and a major contributor to global warming). But before we take an in-depth look at the gases and their effects, we will have a look at the number of these gases!
List of gases found in exhaust fumes
Soot (Not exactly a gas)
In this article, we will have a look at some of the undesirable and toxic components of exhaust fumes one after another:
No discussion concerning car fumes and its dangers can be complete without discussing this hazardous gas. Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, colorless and odorless gas in itself, and is one of the main culprits that make exhaust fumes dangerous to human health, as it binds to the hemoglobin in our blood, which leads to suffocation.
If exposed to even a minuscule amount (0.0035%) of carbon monoxide constantly for 6-8 hours, one will start having the initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which involve lightheadedness, dizziness, confusion, and headache. It increasingly becomes severe as the concentration of the gas in the air increases.
CO toxicity symptoms
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
At the end result of its adverse effects is death of the exposed individual in less than 3 minutes, if its concentration in air is 1.28% (12,800 ppm) or more.
Exhaust fumes has hydrocarbons (compounds having chains of hydrogen and carbon atoms), especially benzene, which has dangerous aftermath to our overall health both immediately and over the long period. As a common carcinogen (something that triggers cancer), benzene is known to extremely impact bone marrow, which could result to a drop in the number of red blood cells, causing anemia.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), benzene can result to cancer of the blood-forming organs (or leukemia) if one is exposed over a long term.
A colorless gas with a sharp, pungent smell, sulfur dioxide irritates the organs of the respiratory tract, such as the nose and throat, resulting to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In the long period, prolonged exposure to sulfur dioxide has been connected with asthma and other similar conditions.
Soot is that powdery stuff that’s responsible for making exhaust fumes black.
Soot (diesel smoke) from a big truck.
That’s pretty much what soot is (on the outside, at least). More specifically, it is mass that is left behind due to the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons.
The detrimental effects of soot are too many to mention, but they include asthma, influenza, and even cancer. Soot has to do with a nasty blow to the respiratory systems of people who are constantly exposed to it. It’s also connected with acute vascular dysfunction and a high risk of coronary artery disease.
Soot affects the environment too (as do the other chemicals listed above). In fact, soot is very bad for the environment that it accounts for about one-quarter of the whole hazardous pollution in the air!
It’s pretty evident that exhaust fumes, in spite of whether they come from a small car or a giant manufacturing plant, are doing some really severe damage not just to us, but to our whole environment. It’s wise, therefore, that we try our best to prevent our own emissions as much as possible. And in the meantime, quit the habit of smelling the exhaust fumes of cars!