Nix NOx where it counts: In – and before it enters – the air

Just say ‘No’ to NOx?

I read somewhere that there is naturally forming NOx, or nitrogen oxide (a gaseous substance) in the air. Then there’s the other kind: the NOx that’s been introduced into the atmosphere through unnaturally occurring events or activities. That’s the far more well-known variety.

You should be aware that in the San Joaquin Valley of California – the second worst area in the country for ozone pollution, to meet the national eight-hour ozone health standard of 84 parts per billion (ppb), established in 1997 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of ozone reduction required as of June 2007, would have had to have been 75 percent.

That was seven-and-a-quarter years ago. Today, the federal standard is 75 ppb (established in 2008). As I understand things, the current primary standard is under review and a revised standard more protective of public health being adopted is possible.1

Well, what NOx has to do with ozone is, is that nitrogen oxide is a by-product of fossil-fuel combustion and, as a chemical, it is one component that, along with others like volatile organic compounds or VOC in the presence of heat, assists in the formation of smog or ozone. Meanwhile, in cold weather, NOx aids in the formation of particulate matter.

You also should be aware that in the San Joaquin Valley, for example, 80 percent of NOx is emitted from mobile sources.2

Down with NOx!

On May 15, 2013 in “CATS: Photocatalysis process helps render some toxic air contaminants harmless,” it was here that I first reported on a product called CristalACTiV™.

“‘CristalACTiV™ photocatalysts, added as an active ingredient in paints or in construction materials or directly applied on a variety of substrates, provide de-polluting and self-cleaning functionality to the surfaces treated, rendering them photoactive. Harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) or sulfur oxides (SOx) are degraded to harmless substances when they come in contact with the photoactive surfaces,’ notes the company on its Web site,” I related.

I pointed out also that “With the inhalation of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) – smog’s two main components – there is risk of asthma being triggered, delicate lung-tissue-damage being caused and bronchitis and pneumonia being contracted.”

So finding other ways to suppress NOx, though challenging, is not impossible and as such, should not be a deterrent toward trying or committing to doing one’s part to keep NOx at bay.

Less reliance on single-occupant motor vehicle use and more dependence on carpooling and vanpooling and emissions-free public transit usage; less driving; widespread incorporation of NOx de-polluting agents such as additives in motor vehicle fuels that can significantly degrade or completely render NOx from exhaust pipes non-existent before it enters the atmosphere are several solutions among many in regards to reducing NOx’s harmful impact on life and the environment.

Here’s to no new mobile-sourced NOx and filtering air of the unnaturally occurring nitrogen oxide gas already there. That’s what I’m talking about!


  1. “Policy Assessment for the Review of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards Health and Environmental Impacts Division, EPA-452/R-14-006, Aug. 2014.
  2. San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Board meeting minutes, June 21, 2007.

– Alan Kandel

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