Indoor air pollution from biomass fuel smoke is a major health concern in the developing world

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2008 Sep;102(9):843-51. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2008.05.028. Epub 2008 Jul 17.


One-third of the world's population burn organic material such as wood, dung or charcoal (biomass fuel) for cooking, heating and lighting. This form of energy usage is associated with high levels of indoor air pollution and an increase in the incidence of respiratory infections, including pneumonia, tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, low birthweight, cataracts, cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality both in adults and children. The mechanisms behind these associations are not fully understood. This review summarises the available information on biomass fuel use and health, highlighting the current gaps in knowledge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Biomass
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Child
  • Cooking*
  • Developing Countries
  • Energy-Generating Resources*
  • Heating*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology*
  • Smoke / adverse effects*


  • Smoke