Approximately 75% of Russians live in polluted environments. Gennady Onishchenko, deputy health minister of the Russian Federation who is also chief of the sanitation inspectorate, discussed the problem Monday at the second Congress of Russian Toxicologists, Rosbalt reported. He pointed in particular to the problem of air pollution caused by factory and automobile emissions.
The most common air pollutants, he said, are particulates, nitric oxide and carbon, sulfur dioxide, polychromatic hydrocarbons, phenol, formaldehyde and heavy metals. Particularly noteworthy among air pollutants, he said, is cancer-causing benzapilene, to which more than 14 million Russians are exposed, Onishchenko emphasized. In addition, he noted, more than 5 million people live in air that has elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon bisulfide, formaldehyde and nitric oxide. As compared with the cities of Europe and the US, Russian city air registers higher concentrations of ammonia, benzapilene and phenol but a lower concentration of sulfur, Onishchenko said.