The combustion of fuel for domestic heating and energy production represents the most common and most widespread source of atmospheric pollution. This produces hot air, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and incompletely burned carbon, water vapour, and oxides of nitrogen, sulphur and other trace gases. Emissions of gases of combustion by industry are much more restricted both in area and numbers of sources. However, combustion for industrial or commercial purposes can be the major source of pollutants in some places, as in the instance of old coal-fired power plant.
The region of Silesia in Poland is highly dependent on coal as a source of energy and domestic heating. The local coal is of poor-quality and produces excessive amounts of airborne particulates and sulphur dioxide which in winter are up to 10 times the EEC/EU limits. Organic compounds in the smog called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are causing genetic defects in foetuses and cancer -- the frequency distribution maps of particulate emissions and cancer closely correspond, and the infant mortality rate in the worst polluted areas is 30 per thousand, twice the national average and five times the OECD average.