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Polluted Environments Kill 1.7 Million Children a Year: WHO

The world is a mess and getting messier when it comes to pollution, whether it’s by air, dirty water or lack of adequate hygiene facilities, Reuters reports. The information comes from the World Health Organization, which says this harmful exposure can begin in the womb, killing 1.7 million children a year.

It’s shocking, but 92 percent of the world’s population breathes polluted air — and it’s getting worse: In 2012, 12 percent of people were breathing air that met the World Health Organization standards, while in 2016 that number fell to 8 percent.

Unfortunately, indoor air quality may be as dangerous as your outside air. While poor to middle income countries are suffering from the worst overall air quality, the indoor lifestyle in which many Americans live may place them at an even greater risk. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, poor indoor air quality is one of the top public health risks you face each day. In fact, studies of human exposure demonstrate that indoor pollution levels may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels.

The good news is you can make a significant difference in the air quality both at home and at work. You can begin by monitoring the air where you work and live, and by installing commercially purchased air filters to remove pollutants. You also can decorate with plants, which can improve air quality.

Refuse to use harsh cleaning products, air fresheners and scented candles, which can contain chemicals that damage your lungs. Also, drink only fluoride-free, filtered water, preferably in glass containers.
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