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Glossary of commonly used terms

Aerosols

Scientific term used to describe particles suspended in a fluid such as air.

Airways

The passageways through which air moves while traveling in and out of the lungs during breathing.

Asthma

A disease characterized by inflamed and narrowed airways and difficulty breathing.

Alveolar region

Gas-exchange region of the deep lung.

Alveoli

Small saclike areas of the lungs that make up the alveolar region.

Ambient

Outdoor.

Anemia

A condition in which the blood does not contain enough hemoglobin, the compound that carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.

Antibody

A protein made by white blood cells to fight a specific foreign protein.

Bronchitis

Inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which connect the trachea to the lungs.

Carcinogenic

Cancer-causing.

Emphysema

A condition caused by a breakdown of alveoli walls resulting in shortness of breath and coughing.

Epidemiology

Scientific study of the causes and control of epidemics and illnesses.

Free radical

Extremely reactive chemical compound.

Hemoglobin

The compound in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen; hemoglobin bound to oxygen gives blood its red color.

Greenhouse gases

Gases including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that have a high potential for trapping heat in the Earth's atmosphere.

Global warming

Predicted warming of the Earth's climate due to increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels.

Lung function

A gauge of how well the lung performs measured by the volume of exhaled air.

Macrophages

In response to foreign materials, these immune system cells may become stimulated and play an important role in killing some tumor cells, bacteria and protozoa.

Microgram

One-millionth of one gram.

Micron

One-millionth of a meter, or one-thousandth of a millimeter.

Mutagenic

Anything that can increase the rate of abnormal change in cells, which can lead to cancer.

Organic compounds

Chemical compounds containing carbon and hydrogen molecules.

Pathogen

Any substance capable of causing disease.

Photochemical reactions

Chemical reactions of pollutants in the atmosphere driven by the sun's energy.

ppm

Parts per million.


Sources:

American Lung AssociationLink to external website.
SCAQMD

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