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Indoor Air PollutionIndoor Air Pollution

The Basics

We usually think about air pollution as affecting the air outside. But there can be indoor pollution, too. Think about how much time you spend indoors. During all of that time, you’re breathing in the air around you.

Where does indoor air pollution come from?

Indoor pollution can come from many sources, including:

  • Paint
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Furniture and carpeting (for example, chemicals that make them difficult to burn)
  • Building materials
  • Scented candles (burning candles releases pollutants)
  • Cleaning products
  • Mold
  • Pet dander (skin flakes from an animal’s hair or fur)
How can indoor air pollution affect my health?

Air pollutants can cause a range of health problems — from triggering allergic reactions or asthma symptoms to more serious problems, such as cancer.


Did you know ?

Tiny bugs called dust mites can cause air pollution in our homes. These mites live in our beds, where they feed on dry flakes of skin. And even though they’re so small we can’t see them, their waste affects indoor air quality.

Learn More

Explore the links below to learn more about indoor air pollution, including how to identify sources of it in your home — and what you can do to protect yourself.

Read About It Read About It

Healthy Air at Home (American Lung Association) - Resources about indoor air pollution and how to protect your home.

Indoor Air (Tox Town - National Library of Medicine) - Information on why indoor air is a concern; links to medical problems and chemicals contributing to indoor air pollution.

Indoor Air Pollution (National Library of Medicine) - Links to an overview, glossaries, research, blogs, news, and videos about indoor air pollution.

Indoor Air Pollution and Health (World Health Organization) - Information on how indoor air pollution is a global problem impacting health, home equity, development, and climate change.

Learn the Issues (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) - Resources on what to do to protect the environment in your home, workplace, and community from pollution.

Let's Talk About... INDOOR AIR (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) - Information on indoor air pollution and an experimental activity.

Videos Videos

Monte Mold Chronicles (National Library of Medicine) - Join Monte Mold as he helps to explain how mold grows, its benefits to humans and the environment, and the potential risks to human health.

For Teachers For Teachers

Helping to Find a Solution to Air Pollution! (PDF, 16.50 KB)(Pima County, Department of Environmental Quality) - PDF activity for students to write themselves a letter about the problem of air pollution and how they would help with the causes.

There is Something in the Air (PDF, 1.02 MB)(Baylor College of Medicine) - PDF unit lesson to model the flow of pollutants through outdoor and indoor air.

What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You! Part 1 (Thinkport) - Online student activity/lesson plan for grades 6-8; integrating technology into learning about environmental science and health.

What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You! Part 2 (Thinkport) - Online 90 minute student activity/lesson plan for grades 6-8; integrating technology into learning about environmental science and health.