The generation of electric power is one important source of pollutants such as mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulate matter that can affect the respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems and cause pregnancy complications. But protecting people from environmental health hazards has become increasingly complex. Air pollutants are often invisible and travel many miles virtually undetected. Nurses can play a critical role in preventive strategies, as well as in the national debate on energy production and dependence on fossil fuels.
Alane B. O'Connor is a family nurse practitioner on the faculty of the Maine Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency in Fairfield, ME. Callista Roy is a professor at the William F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College. Contact author: Alane B. O'Connor, firstname.lastname@example.org. The authors of this article have no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.
Potentially harmful pollutants to be aware of and how they may affect the public's health.