Nitrogen oxides (NOx):
Nitrogen oxide plays a major role in the formation of ground-level ozone (or smog) in summer and contributes to fine particulate matter (or soot). Both smog and soot are linked to a host of serious health effects. Nitrogen oxide also harms the environment, contributing to acidification of lakes and streams (acid rain) and the haze that often shrouds our national parks and scenic vistas.
Mercury can cause severe nervous system problems in humans and wildlife. Especially vulnerable are developing fetuses, babies and children. Eating fish is one of the primary ways people ingest mercury, which accumulates in the tissues of fish and other animals. Texas is home to five of the nation's top 10 mercury emitting power plants.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2):
Sulfur dioxide contributes to the formation of microscopic particles (particulate pollution or soot) that can be inhaled deep into the lungs and aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, increasing cough and mucous secretion.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Global Warming:
Carbon dioxide does not directly impair human health but is the most significant greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The dangers of global warming include disruption of global weather patterns and ecosystems, flooding, severe storms and droughts. A warming climate will also extend the range of infectious diseases.