Indoor Pollution Reading Ielts Answers and Questions

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  • IELTS Reading True/False/Not given 
  • IELTS Reading Matching features
  • IELTS Reading Multiple choice questions

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IELTS Reading Passage: Indoor pollution

Indoor pollution

A. We have been painfully aware of the devastation caused by widespread environmental degradation since the early 1980s. Such pollution is typically the result of poor government planning in a number of developing countries or the short-sighted, self-centred policies of developed countries that allow a minority of the world’s population to waste the majority of the world’s natural resources.

B. While disasters such as deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as well as acts of environmental sabotage, continue to receive extensive media coverage, it is important to note that not all pollution is of this magnitude. A significant portion of global pollution originates much closer to home. The recent crude oil spill from an oil tanker that accidentally discharged its cargo directly into Sydney Harbour not only caused severe damage to the harbour foreshores, but also produced toxic fumes that lingered over the suburbs for days, leaving angry residents wondering how such a disaster could have occurred.

C. Pollution control can be a full-time job. Avoid breathing in traffic fumes, avoid chemical plants and construction sites, and ride with a mask. There is plenty to make one want to stay at home. However, new scientific evidence suggests that this would also be a bad decision. Even in the most polluted cities, indoor pollution levels of toxic gases, particulate matter, and other chemical “nasties” are typically higher than outdoor levels. Given that the average American spends 18 hours indoors for every hour spent outdoors, many environmentalists appear to be fighting the wrong battle.

D. The most recent study, published in Environmental Science and Technology by two environmental engineers from the University of Texas at Austin, Richard Corsi and Cynthia Howard-Reed, reveals that the process of keeping clean may exacerbate indoor pollution. Baths, showers, dishwashers, and washing machines can all contribute significantly to indoor pollution by removing trace amounts of chemicals from the water they consume and releasing them into the air.

E. Almost all public water supplies contain extremely low levels of harmful compounds, the vast majority of which are byproducts of the otherwise beneficial chlorination process. Dr. Corsi inquired whether they remain in the water after use or if they enter the air that people breathe. The scientists carried out a series of experiments in which known concentrations of five of these chemicals were mixed with water and passed through a dishwasher, a washing machine, a shower head within a shower stall, or a bath tap, all within a specially constructed chamber. The chemical concentrations in the chamber’s effluent water and air were then measured to determine the amount of each chemical transported from the water to the air.

F. The degree to which the most volatile materials can be removed from water, a process known as chemical stripping, is determined by a number of factors, including the chemical’s volatility, the temperature of the water, and the transferable surface area. Dishwashers were found to be particularly effective: when the door is opened at the end of the cycle, the high-temperature spray splashing against the crockery and cutlery creates a toxic cloud.

G. In many cases, the level of exposure from inhaling hazardous substances in tap water is comparable to the level of exposure from drinking the water. This is significant because many people are so concerned about water-borne contaminants that they only drink bottled water, the global sales of which are expected to exceed $72 billion by next year. D. Corsi’s findings indicate that they are exposed to such contaminants simply by breathing at home.

H. The goal of such studies, however, is not to encourage the use of gas masks when unloading laundry. Instead, it is intended to add context to the pollution debate. According to Dr. Corsi, a disproportionate amount of effort is expended on campaigns against specific types of outdoor pollution, when there is just as much or more cause for concern indoors, right under the public’s nose.

I.  Using gas stoves or candles, for example, produces indoor levels of carbon monoxide and particulate matter comparable to those seen outdoors in high-traffic areas. Carbon dioxide levels in overcrowded classrooms with ventilation systems designed for fewer students frequently exceed what would be acceptable on board a submarine. The “new car scent” is the result of excessive amounts of hazardous compounds, not of cleanliness. Indoor air pollution is exacerbated by laser printers, computers, carpets, and paints.

J. The effects of indoor pollution on health are unknown. However, before worrying about the problems caused by large-scale industries, it is important to consider domestic pollution and to invite international debate on this topic. Indoor pollution researchers will gather in Edinburgh next month for the Indoor Air conference to discuss the issue. The meeting is being held indoors, which may be a mistake.

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Indoor pollution Reading Questions

Questions 1-3

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the text? For questions 1-3, write

TRUE                if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE              if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN      if there is no information on this

1. We have not been too aware of the devastating effects of large-scale environmental pollution.
2. Severely toxic fumes were created by the spillage of crude oil from an oil tanker.
3. The cause of pollution is unknown to researchers.

Enhance your skills in identifying information as True, False, or Not Given. Click here to discover expert strategies and techniques for mastering this question type in the IELTS Reading section.

Questions   4-8

Reading Passage 1 describes a number of cause and effect relationships.

Match each Cause (Questions 4-8) in List A with its Effect (A-J) in List B.

Write the appropriate letters (A-J) in boxes 4-8 on your answer sheet.

4. Industrialised countries consume a lot of energy.
5. An oil spill occurs in the sea.
6. The findings of the researchers are published.
7. The water is heated to a high temperature.
8. People are concerned about pollutants in tap water.


A. The emphasis of pollution shifts to the home.
B. Carbon monoxide levels rise.
C. Natural resources are unequally distributed around the world.
D. People expect an explanation.
E. Environmentalists look for an explanation elsewhere.
F. Chemicals are effectively removed from water.
G. A fresh odour is produced.
H. Bottled water sales are increasing.
I. Carbon dioxide levels are rising.
J. The chlorine level in drinking water has risen.

Improve your performance in Matching Features questions by clicking here to access our comprehensive guide. Learn how to match specific features or characteristics with the options provided in the IELTS Reading section.

Questions 9-13

Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.

9. In the first paragraph, the author claims that

A. pollution has increased since the 1980s.
B. is at its worst in developed countries.
C. is the result of poor international relations.
D. is the result of human self-interest.

10. The oil spill in Sydney Harbour was caused by an 

A. ship refuelling in the harbour.
B. tanker is pumping oil into the sea.
C. collision of two oil tankers.
D. a deliberate act of sabotage.

11. The writer suggests in the third paragraph that

A. people should avoid working in cities.
B. Americans spend far too little time outside.
C. In industrial suburbs, hazardous gases are concentrated.
D. There are several ways to avoid city pollution.

12. According to the Corsi research team, 

A. toxic chemicals can pass from air to water.
B. Dishwashers and baths pollute the environment.
C. city water is deficient in chlorine.
D. poorly designed household appliances.

13. As a result of their research, Dr. Corsi’s team discovered that 

A. dishwashers are extremely efficient machines.
B. Tap water is just as contaminated as bottled water.
C. Indoor pollution is as bad as outdoor pollution.
D. gas masks are an effective form of protection.

Ready to improve your performance in Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)? Click here to access our comprehensive guide on how to tackle MCQs effectively in the IELTS Reading section.

Unlock your full potential in the IELTS Reading section – Visit our IELTS Reading Practice Question Answer page now!

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Indoor pollution reading answers

1.  False 
2. True 
3. Not given 
4. C 
5. D 
6. A 
7. F 
8. H 
10. B 
11. D 
12. B 
13. C


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