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Caring for Earth
Indoor Air Pollution



Indoor Air Pollution
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.28

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    asbestos, burning, cancer-causing, dander, formaldehyde, impure, mesothelioma, nauseous, plywood, sensitivity, upholstery, ventilation, tract, nausea, mites, coordination
     content words:    United States


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Indoor Air Pollution
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     The environment is everything around you. Do you know what pollution is? Pollution includes all the harmful materials that make our environment dirty. You've probably heard about pollution in our environment many times before. Maybe you've heard about chemicals, automotive exhaust, and industrial waste. You usually think of this as being in the air or the water or the soil. These are important issues.
 
2     Interestingly enough, scientists are now just as concerned about our indoor environment. There is such a thing as indoor air pollution. What is that? Why is it important?
 
3     Indoor air pollution includes the things that make our inside world dirty or impure. Scientists realize now that almost ninety percent of our lives are spent indoors. People work inside and study inside. They eat and drink inside. They sleep indoors. So, while the outdoors needs to be kept clean, scientists realize that the indoor air quality is extremely important as well.
 
4     It's important that people are aware of the consequences of pollution. All air pollution contributes to lung disease. Lung diseases include respiratory tract infections, asthma, and lung cancer. Lung disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Obviously, it would be beneficial for pollution to be reduced in all parts of our environment.
 
5     So what's inside your indoor environment at home or school? Some places have germs like bacteria and viruses. Others have allergens like mold, pollen, dust mites, and animal dander. In some places, there are more of these irritants than in others. Some people are more sensitive than others. Sensitivity to these items can cause people to miss work or school because they may feel tired, nauseous, congested, or experience headaches.
 
6     There are many kinds of pollutants that can possibly be found inside. These things are sometimes in the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.
 
7     One very unsafe inside pollutant is radon. Radon can be extremely dangerous. It is naturally occurring. However, when it enters a building through cracks in the foundation, it can be dangerous. It can decay and cause your cells to change, leading to lung cancer.
 
8     Secondhand smoke is a huge cause of inside pollution. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemicals and cancer-causing substance. It harms young children by causing respiratory tract infections. Later on in life it causes lung disease and heart disease.

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