Indoor air pollution biggest health hazard for Indians: Study

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Fumes emanating from traditional cooking fuel are posing a major health risk for Indians with nearly 70% of them living in rural areas, researchers claimed.

Indoor air pollution (IAP) has been found to be the biggest health hazard for Indians as most of them still use the traditional cooking stove, chulha, which is fired up with solid fuels like burning wood, coal and animal dung.

This report is a part of the largest ever study, the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, conducted by 486 scientists from 50 countries to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors.

For Indians IAP is the biggest health hazard followed by smoking and high blood pressure. IAP claims 500,000 lives in India every year, mostly women and children, said the World Health Organization (WHO). India accounted for 80% of the 600,000 premature deaths that occur in south-east Asia annually due to exposure to IAP.

Burning solid fuels emits particulates and toxic gases which can, according to WHO, result in Acute lower respiratory infections, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and Lung cancer. Futhermore, there is evidence of links between indoor air pollution and other health problems such as, low birthweight and perinatal mortality, asthma, middle ear infection and other acute upper respiratory infections, tuberculosis, nasopharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer, cataract (blindness) and cardiovascular disease.

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