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Answers to our Air Pollution Quiz

 Other facts on Air Pollution

1. How many people in the U.S. currently live in an area where the air fails to meet the federal clean air standards act?

C. The correct answer is 117,000,000. This is according to the latest report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which states that a total of 270 counties in 33 states may be in violation of the clean air standards act.

2. Which one category contributes the largest amount of air pollution?

B. The correct answer is automobiles (and transportation in general). Estimates vary between 40% and 47% depending on the area, but generally transportation sources contribute by far the largest amount of outdoor pollutants. Next is industrial factories, then power plants, and then mining operations. Outdoor burning can exceed all of these categories for a short time, but usually occurs on a limited basis.

3. There are several different types of air pollution, which one is the most prevalent?

A. The correct answer is Ozone. This is a close one, but due to the fact that Ozone is a form of oxygen, it would have to be considered the most prevalent. Ozone is a highly reactive gas which results primarily from the action of sunlight on hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides emitted in fuel combustion. Basically, Ozone is the resultant oxygen hybrid created when other forms of pollution interact with sunlight.

4. Which type of pollution is most closely associated with adverse health effects in humans?

B. The correct answer is Respirable Particulate Matter. This is a complex and varying mixture of substances that includes carbon-based particles, dust, and acid aerosols. It is especially harmful to people with lung disease such as asthma, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), which can include chronic bronchitis and emphysema, as well as people with heart disease. Long-term exposure to particulate matter can lead to all of the disorders mentioned above, while short-term exposure typically  triggers asthma attacks and can cause wheezing, coughing, and respiratory irritation. It can also burn, or cause discomfort to the eyes, nose and throat.

5. What does the term Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) mean?

C. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), refers to any of a group of disorders or symptoms which relates to decreased lung function, and the inability of the lungs to supply the body with adequate amounts of oxygen. Some of the better known examples are asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

6. How many deaths per year in the United States are caused by lung disease?

C. The correct answer is 335,000. Making lung disease the third-leading cause of death in the United States. While air pollution isn't responsible for every case of lung disease, in every case lung disease is seriously worsened by exposure to pollutants, and death can result.

7. The number of hospitalizations, and the number of deaths related to air pollution has:

D. Has risen significantly over the last 20 years. Asthma is a good example. The number of asthma sufferers has doubled in the last 20 years, while the number of asthma deaths has tripled. Death rates are declining for most other leading diseases and disorders, but lung diseases, and COPD's are reversing the trend.

8. Approximately how many people in the United States have Asthma?

A. The correct answer is 17,000,000. And the number continues to climb. At this rate Asthma will soon be the single most prevalent chronic condition. 5,000,000 of these Asthma sufferers are children, and in some cities it's not uncommon to find that 20% of the children have been prescribed inhalers. This does not include adults or children who are suffering from the effects of air pollution, but haven't had a medical diagnosis of Asthma.

9. Aside from outdoor air pollution, what other factors can trigger an asthma attack, or worsen other symptoms of COPD?

E. The correct answer is E, all of the above. Cigarette smoking, and second hand smoke are two of the better known factors in COPD, with as many as half a million people dying each year from cigarettes, and second-hand smoke. Lesser known, but also important factors are the presence of cockroach droppings, and mold and mildew contributing to indoor pollution. These factors can also trigger asthma sufferers to have an attack, or worsen the symptoms of bronchitis or emphysema.

10. If a child develops a chronic lung condition while young, what are the chances they will overcome the disease and become symptom-free as an adult?

D. The correct answer is less than 25%. When pollutant particles are inhaled regularly over a period of time, the eventually reach the alveoli, or terminal air sacs of the lungs. Once a polluting substance reaches this location, it stays there. This accounts for why people (including children) living in large metropolitan areas have blacker lungs than their rural counterparts.

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