Reducing ammonia emissions could cheaply cut pollution linked with severe health impacts

  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Researchers have found that reducing ammonia emissions could be a cost effective way to limit fine particulate matter air pollution, identified by the World Health Organization as the single largest environmental threat to human health.1

Ammonia—widely used in the production of agricultural fertilisers—is critical to the world food supply, but when released into the air, it bonds with nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide to form fine particulates. These particulates, less than 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5) are often associated with severe health impacts, including death.

A research team—led by scientists from Zhejiang University in China—used a novel metric called the “nitrogen share” (N-share) of PM2.5 pollution—which is the relative change of total PM2.5 concentration with and without emissions from reactive nitrogens (Nr) …

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