Use the links below to view information about the pollutants listed.
Clicking on a pollutant on the left will make the information appear on the right.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is produced when a material or fuel containing sulphur is burned. Globally, much of the sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources but, in the UK, the major source is power stations burning fossil fuels - principally coal and heavy oils. Widespread domestic use of coal can also lead to hight local concentrations of SO2 in some parts of the world such as China.
Even moderate concentrations of SO2 may result in a decline in lung function in asthmatics. Tightness in the chest and coughing occur at high levels, and lung function of asthmatics may be impaired to the extent that medical help is required. Sulphur dioxide pollution is considered more harmful when particle and other pollution concentrations are high. This is a good example of combined or synergistic effects of air pollutants.