Do people die from dirty air?


Grade level: 4 – 5th grades

Skills: Number comparison (large number)

Related environmental issues: Air pollution

Area level: National

When the air is not clean and polluted, we tend to develop heat and lung diseases. It is reported that, in the United States, about 64,000 people die early every year because of breathing polluted air. It is estimated that  about 3,900 people die from drowning, about 33,000 people die from car accidents, and about 76,000 people die from diabetes every year in the United States.

  1. Between the four reasons, what is the leading cause of death?
  2. Drowning causes deaths than breathing polluted air or less?
  3. Which reason causes about half as many deaths as breathing polluted air?

Source: Natural Resources Defense Council,  Centers for disease control and prevention (a), Centers for disease control and prevention (b), & Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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Answer keys

  1. diabetes
  2. less
  3. car accidents