Effects of Biomass Fuel Generated Indoor Air Pollution on Prevalence of Self-reported Asthma among Adult Women in North Indian Rural Villages

Utkarsha Pathak, N C Gupta, J C Suri, Charu Tyagi


Background: Biomass and solid fuels are major contributors to Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) in developing nations and have high associated mortality risks as reported by WHO. A number of studies have focused on ambient air quality and its associated risk of asthma attacks, but fewer studies focus on health impacts from IAP.

Methods: A cross-sectional population survey including 310 women participants was conducted in rural villages of western Uttar Pradesh to record self-reported prevalence of asthma. Indoor air quality for PM10 and PM2.5 was assessed and recorded for eight hours, per each household of these women residents. Regression models were generated to estimate the effects of cooking smoke on self-reported asthma.

Results: Average concentration of PM10 and PM2.5 was significantly higher in the houses cooking using biomass fuel (BMF) as opposed to the ones cooking using LPG (p<0.01). Finding of this study suggest that women exposed to biomass fuel smoke are at a higher risk of reporting asthma than the ones using cleaner fuels like LPG (OR: 1.32; 95%CI 1.082-1.53; p<0.01).

Conclusions: Self-reported asthma was more prevalent in women that were found using BMF as a major cooking fuel. Results from this study may have important implications in terms of policy intervention at national and international level for developing nations like India, where majority of population rely on BMF as a coking solution.


Asthma, Biomass fuel, Indoor air pollution, Particulate matter

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