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Cancer-causing compounds circulate in schools and other buildings at levels that far exceed those prevailing in the open air, a new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found.

The report examined the levels of volatile organic compounds in a school and nine other buildings. It discovered that every pollutant studied, with the exception of benzene, was present at higher levels indoors than outdoors.

The study also indicated that readings for some compounds in new buildings were 100 times higher than outdoor levels.

Dangerous particles were found far more frequently in smoking areas than elsewhere in the buildings, the report said.

Long-term exposure to these chemicals, the epa warned, may cause cancer and other serious health problems. Another ef6fect is "sick-building syndrome," which frequently includes eye, throat, and nose irritations and headaches, the agency noted.

The agency also has released two publications on indoor-air quality aimed at wider audiences. "The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality" and "Directory of State Indoor Air Contacts" are available from the Public Information Center, epa, Washington, D.C. 20460.

Vol. 08, Issue 12

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