By Caty Weaver

This is the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

The United Nations World Health Organization says millions of people die earlier than they should because of indoor air pollution. It says most victims live in developing countries.

Dietrich Schwela is a pollution scientist for the W-H-O. Mr. Schwela says people need to be informed about the dangers of indoor air pollution. He says many people do not know that the air found in buildings can injure and sometimes kill.

The W-H-O scientist says indoor air pollution is common in developing countries because people there use open stoves. They cook food on the stoves. And, the devices produce heat for their homes.

Mr. Schwela says that many houses in developing countries do not use chimneys. Chimneys are tall, narrow structures with an opening at the top. They usually are made of building materials or metal. The opening of the chimney should rise through the top of the building.

A fire can be built at the bottom of the chimney. Chimneys permit smoke to travel up and out of the house. They protect people in the house from breathing in much of the smoke.

Mr. Schwela says chimneys in developing countries often are not built correctly. He says this is especially true in African nations. The W-H-O scientist says chimneys there often end one or two meters below the top of the house. This means the smoke travels up and then around the inside of the building.

Mr. Schwela says such buildings have air with very small and dangerous pieces of matter, such as dust and ash. This can cause breathing disorders, lung cancer, and diseases of the heart and lungs.

Mr. Schwela says women and small children are most at risk. That is because they spend more time in the house than adult males. The W-H-O estimates that five-hundred-thousand children in India die each year from indoor air pollution. In Africa, about that many children die from the problem.

Mr. Schwela advises people not to use open stoves. He says they also should not use wood and some other natural fuels inside buildings. Mr. Schwela says natural gas and kerosene are much better fuels for cooking and heating. And, he says people should have working a chimney that sucks smoke out of the house.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Caty Weaver.

Voice of America Special English