This news item was created by students Carl Voss, Nikki Patino, Justin Thomas and Liz Stapleton as part of their Chemistry 210 Semester Project in WS99 under the guidance of Prof. Rainer Glaser.

Glaser's "Chemistry is in the News"
To Accompany Wade Organic Chemistry 4/e.
Chapter 3. Structure and Stereochemistry of Alkanes.

For each of the following questions, please refer to the following article:

by N.N., ENN, The Environmental News Network, December 11,1998.

Editorial Comments

Although smog may enhance the beauty of Los Angeles sunsets, its negative impact on human health, quality of life, and society far outweigh such trivial aesthetics. This toxic brew of ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxide, and other volatile organic compounds can become extremely concentrated, causing various disruptions to biological systems.

High rates of breathing related ailments such as asthma, lung cancer, and emphysema, often plague areas of intense smog accumulation, as evident in large cities and industrial regions. Asthma cripples the breathing ability of approximately 15 million people in America. There is a direct correlation between many asthma sufferers and the smog concentration in the area in which they live. Smog has also been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, especially in men.

The smog levels of major cities often reach such levels that the inhabitants suffer from burning eyes and sore throats, often making outdoor activity during peak hours (evenings and weekends) unbearable. These conditions negatively influence the quality of life and the emotional well being of people. On top of all this, the smog drifts from cities to rural areas, mixes with precipitation and forms acid rain. Vast expanses of forest throughout the U. S., and their ecology, have been degraded in response to this condition.

Not only is smog a threat to human health, it is also a constant threat to the health of economy. It is estimated that nearly one billion dollars of annual damage is done in the U. S. alone. This damage occurs from the corrosive nature of volatile organic oxides acting upon man-made structures and forest vital to the lumber industry.

The burning of fossil fuels, especially in motor vehicles, is the major source of the problem. The government's attempts, to regulate fuel use, has fallen short of adequate standards in the U. S. Many alternative sources of fuel are needed, coinciding with other methods of transportation.

Pertinent Text References
Chapter 3. Structure and Stereochemistry of Alkanes
Section 3-6. Reactions of Alkanes.


Question 1: Smog is composed of VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) like ozone, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide. Draw the structures of these compounds. Compare your work to the visualization center.

A: Check with visualization centers.

Question 2: After reading the article, how will reducing smog in large urban areas affect the health care system?

A: NO specific answer. Generally, since smog is linked to the health of society and can be a factor in lung cancer, health rates might not be raised becuase of this correlation.

Question 3: According to AIRSData website, what patterns are associated with the hot spots of smog activity in the United States?

A: Major cities, especially on the coasts, such as L.A and New York and along major rivers are hot spots for polution, due to concentration of human inhabitants.

Question 4: Decribe ways that the levels of smog can be reduced from large urban areas.

A: Smog can be reduced by lowering vehicle pollution. Some examples include: using mass transit, cycling, carpooling, and keeping your vehicle well maintained. Increasing the efficiency of your home and workplace would also lower the amount of smog.

Question 5: In the article, many theories were given to understand why smog may affect men more than women including the theory that estrogen in women might be able to neutralize smog. Estrogen also called diethylstilbestrol (C18H20O2) has properties of a phenol (take a look at the structure). Why might scientists theorize that estrogen has the ability to neutralize smog? (Suggestion: Smog is generally thought of as a nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides compound.Think about the reactivity of the molecule with the common elements of smog.)

A: Thought provoking with no definite answer, yet.