Basic Information about NO2
- What is NO2 and how does it get in the air?
- What are the harmful effects of NO2?
- What is being done to reduce NO2 pollution?
What is NO2 and how does it get in the air?
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is one of a group of highly reactive gases known as oxides of nitrogen or nitrogen oxides (NOx). Other nitrogen oxides include nitrous acid and nitric acid. NO2 is used as the indicator for the larger group of nitrogen oxides.
NO2 primarily gets in the air from the burning of fuel. NO2 forms from emissions from cars, trucks and buses, power plants, and off-road equipment.
Effects of NO2
Breathing air with a high concentration of NO2 can irritate airways in the human respiratory system. Such exposures over short periods can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, leading to respiratory symptoms (such as coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing), hospital admissions and visits to emergency rooms. Longer exposures to elevated concentrations of NO2 may contribute to the development of asthma and potentially increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. People with asthma, as well as children and the elderly are generally at greater risk for the health effects of NO2.
NO2 along with other NOx reacts with other chemicals in the air to form both particulate matter and ozone. Both of these are also harmful when inhaled due to effects on the respiratory system.
- Learn more about Particulate Matter and Ozone.
- Learn more about Acid Rain.
- Learn more about Visibility and Haze.
- Learn more about Nutrient Pollution.
What is being done to reduce NO2 pollution?
- Learn about how air quality standards help reduce NO2
- Learn more about NO2 air quality designations and state implementation plans (SIPs).