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Biohazard Dictionary

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Storm-water Runoff Pollution

When rain flows over streets and other impervious surfaces, it picks up pollutants and carries them into the storm-water conveyance ("storm drain") system. This run-off is then transported to our streams, lakes, and the ocean without treatment or filtration. Sources of pollutants include motor vehicles, construction site runoff, sewage spills, illegal dumping, improper plumbing, commercial site runoff, agricultural nutrients and pesticides,  animal waste, and residential site runoff (home & garden care, including washing the car). Polluted runoff can harm wildlife and their habitats, cause beach closures, and make fish and shellfish unsafe to eat. To find out more information, please contact the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health Storm-water Management Program. 


Air Pollution

Air pollution in San Diego County and other large metropolises is one of the largest, yet most difficult to detect sources of pollution.  Air pollution is generally invisible to the naked eye, except in cases where a factories smoke is entering into the atmosphere or most days in Los Angeles.  It is invisible because it is in gaseous form and because it has lots of room to diffuse. Deaths per year due to unhealthful air is thought to be increasing annually.  The sources of this pollution are large industry, airplanes, and most abundantly automobiles.  All of these sources release carbon monoxide and dioxide (CO & CO2 ), Sulfuric Oxide (SO) and Ozone (O ).  These four pollutants have been shown to cause respiratory illness in laboratory experiments and are also a possible cause of global warming. For more information about air pollution please contact: AirHead.org


Hazardous Materials

Following is a list of the most prevalent pollutants found in San Diego County. These pollutants are listed in order of most common and then a brief description of the hazardous aspects of each grouping of pollutants follows.

* If you have come into contact with any of the listed pollutants or for other possible health concerns, please contact On-line Medical Dictionary 


Gasoline, Degreasers, Aerosol Touch-up Paints, Lubricants, and Acetone, Tolue

Flammable, can cause skin irritations, and difficulty breathing when inhaled. 

Waxes and Motor Oil.

Combustible; skin irritant

Gasoline and Degreasers.

Inhalation Poisoning

Antifreeze and Windshield Washing Fluid.

Toxic when Swallowed

Solvents, Degreasers, Gasoline, Motor Oil, dimethyformanide (DMF), glycol ethers, toluene, xylene, and methyl alcohol.

Can be absorbed through the skin. Can affect the nervous system, respiratory system, skin, eyes, and internal organs to some degree. Can cause damage to the male and female reproductive systems and cause cancer.

 Carburetor Cleaners.

Skin Irritant

Car Batteries contain a solution of Sulfuric Acid and Lead

Corrosive and Toxic


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Copyright 2001 Waste Watchers (Geography 596 Group Project)
Last modified: May 17, 2001