Air pollution by a mixture of smoke and fog; SYN. smogginess.
Natural fog containing impurities, mainly nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from domestic fires, industrial furnaces, certain power stations, and internal-combustion engines (gasoline or diesel). It can cause substantial illness and loss of life, particularly among chronic bronchitics, and damage to wildlife.
Photochemical smog is mainly prevalent in the summer as it is caused by chemical reaction between strong sunlight and vehicle exhaust fumes. Such smogs create a buildup of ozone and nitrogen oxides which cause adverse symptoms, including coughing and eye irritation, and in extreme cases can kill.
The London smog of 1952 lasted for five days and killed more than 4,000 people from heart and lung diseases. The use of smokeless fuels, the treatment of effluent, and penalties for excessive smoke from poorly maintained and operated vehicles can be effective in reducing smog but it still occurs in many cities throughout the world.