Household Air Pollution has serious effects on our lungs

Indoor air quality can be affected by microbial contaminants, suspended particles, gases and any other element that can create adverse health conditions

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Household Air Pollution has serious effects on our lungs

Indoor air quality can be affected by microbial contaminants, suspended particles, gases and any other element that can create adverse health conditions. There are various methods for improving quality such as the choice of suitable materials, the execution of processes with equipment suitable for the environment and, for example, the natural or controlled ventilation of the environments which leads to a dilution of any contaminants.

Some studies carried out have revealed a strong correlation between exposure to polluted indoor environments and lung cancer and respiratory symptoms. The Lung Effects of Household Air Pollution study, published in the The journal of allergy and clinical immunology.

In practice, explained: "Biomass fuel smoke, secondhand smoke, and oxides of nitrogen are common causes of household air pollution (HAP). Almost 2.4 billion people worldwide use solid fuels for cooking and heating, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

Wood combustion for household heating is also common in many areas of high-income countries, and minorities are particularly vulnerable. HAP in low- and middle-income countries is associated with asthma, acute respiratory tract infections in adults and children, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, tuberculosis, and respiratory mortality.

Although wood smoke exposure levels in high-income countries are typically lower than in lower-income countries, it is similarly associated with accelerated lung function decline, higher prevalence of airflow obstruction and chronic bronchitis, and higher all-cause and respiratory cause-specific mortality.

Household air cleaners with high-efficiency particle filters have mixed effects on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease outcomes. Biomass fuel interventions in low-income countries include adding chimneys to cookstoves, improving biomass fuel combustion stoves, and switching fuel to liquid petroleum gas.

Still, the impact on health outcomes is inconsistent. In high-income countries, strategies for reducing biomass fuel-related HAP are centered on community-level woodstove changeout programs, although the results are again inconsistent.

In addition, initiatives to encourage home smoking bans to have mixed success in households with children. Environmental solutions to reduce HAP have varying success in reducing pollutants and health problems. Improved understanding of indoor air quality factors and actions that prevent degradation or improve polluted indoor air may lead to enhanced environmental health policies, but health outcomes must be rigorously examined."