Clean air and clean water are the most basic components of a healthy environment. And when we pollute these natural resources we place our own health and survival at risk. 
Contamination of the atmosphere by industrial emissions has probably decreased in the second half of the 20th century as a result of laws regulating smokestack emissions and decreasing use of coal. The greatest current source of air pollution is exhaust from motor vehicles, containing carbon monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, decreasing amounts of lead, and particulate hydrocarbons. Stricter government control over vehicle emissions has reduced the amount of pollution released by automobiles, but continuing growth in the number of vehicles, especially in large cities is forcing up levels of some pollutants. 

Although there is no direct evidence, air pollution is considered one possible explanation for the increasing incidence of asthma in young people in the world. Improving the quality of our air and further reducing vehicle emissions should continue to be one of our major environmental goals at the community, state and national level. 

Indoor air pollution has also become a cause for concern as more and more people spend their working days in air-conditioned buildings with windows that don't open. The air inside these buildings is re-circulated so that any air pollutants inside the building may gradually accumulate if they are not filtered out. Examples of some indoor air pollutants include resins from construction materials, insulation materials, adhesives used to lay carpets and tiles, cleaning agents, and chemicals from photocopiers and other office equipment. Illnesses caused by air pollution from these sources have been called "sick building" syndrome" and tentatively linded to a variety of medical problems. 


Air quality can be and usually is improved in new buildings by increasing the amount of fresh, outside air conditioning and in other ways. The main concern about our water supply is that the sources from which it is drawn-rivers, lakes, and underground aquifes are being polluted by runoff that contains fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides and by acid rain and industrial wastes. Today's water treatment plants were designed to protect against water-borne infectious diseases such as typhoid and dysentery, which can result when the water supply is contaminated with either human or animal wastes. These facilities are not pollutants from water. If you are  concerned about the purity of your water supply have your tap water tested by the designated agency in your state for contamination by microorganisms; or have a reliable , independent chemical pollutants are found to be high, contact your local public water utility as soon as possible. If the pollution is in your own water source, such as a well, you must attempt to clean it up or abandon it for drinking purposes. Be cautious of bottled water sources too; their purity varies and the water in most cases is no safer than that from public water supplies. 


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