Women, children worst victims of indoor air pollution

Published: Sunday 15 July 2007

-- Down to Earth World Health Organization (who) says over 3 billion people use solid fuels, including biomass--wood, dung and crop residues--and coal for cooking

Down to Earth About 54 per cent of the people in the developing countries lack access to modern energy sources. They depend on traditional fuels. Indoor smoke from solid fuels is the 4th leading high mortality risk there

Down to Earth Inefficient burning of solid fuels causes high levels of indoor air pollution, emitting hazardous small particles and pollutants such as carbon monoxide

Down to Earth who says dependence on solid fuels is one of the 10 most serious threats to public health, causing premature deaths

Down to Earth In terms of environmental risks, indoor air pollution is the second most important risk factor, after unsafe water. It accounts for twice the number of deaths reported from urban outdoor air pollution

Down to Earth Annually, 1.5 million people die of problems related to indoor air pollution worldwide--two-third of the deaths occur in South East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa

How it kills

Down to Earth Down to Earth The pm 10 levels in homes using biomass in Africa, Asia and Latin America range from 300-3,000 microgrammes per cubic metre (g m3). This can also go up to 10,000 gm3. During cooking, the pm10 concentration in an Indian kitchen varies between 500-2,000 gm3

Down to Earth Inefficient burning of solid fuels indoors emit a mix of pollutants including carbon monoxide, particulate matters, nitrogen oxides, benzene and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. The fine particles pm 2.5--less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter--penetrate into the respiratory system

Down to Earth Women spend 3-7 hours in the kitchen everyday and breathe in smoke equivalent to consuming two packs of cigarettes. This causes acute and chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases

Down to Earth The pollution also causes pneumonia and other acute lower respiratory infections (alri) among children, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd) and lung cancer in adults

Down to Earth In 21 countries, indoor air pollution accounts for about 5 per cent of the total deaths and diseases

Bearing the brunt

Down to Earth Nearly 1.2 million deaths occur in 11 countries--India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, United Republic of Tanzania, Afghanistan, Angola and Burkina Faso

Down to Earth India has 400,000 deaths due to the use of solid fuel while China has 390,000. India has the highest alri deaths and China has the highest copd and lung cancer deaths

Down to EarthDown to Earth The risk involved in indoor air pollution demands more fuel-efficient and cleaner technologies; especially in developing countries, which don't have any air quality standards for indoor air

Down to Earth Use of biogas, liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene can minimise the health risk, preventing 1.5 million deaths per year

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