Respiratory health effects of indoor air pollution

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2010 Sep;14(9):1079-86.


Domestic pollution is relevant to health because people spend most of their time indoors. One half of the world's population is exposed to high concentrations of solid fuel smoke (biomass and coal) that are produced by inefficient open fires, mainly in the rural areas of developing countries. Concentrations of particulate matter in kitchens increase to the range of milligrams per cubic meter during cooking. Solid fuel smoke possesses the majority of the toxins found in tobacco smoke and has also been associated with a variety of diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in women, acute respiratory infection in children and lung cancer in women (if exposed to coal smoke). Other tobacco smoke-associated diseases, such as tuberculosis, asthma, respiratory tract cancer and interstitial lung diseases, may also be associated with solid fuel smoke inhalation, but evidence is limited. As the desirable change to clean fuels is unlikely, efforts have been made to use efficient, vented wood or coal stoves, with varied success due to inconsistent acceptance by the community.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / chemistry
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Biomass
  • Child
  • Coal / toxicity
  • Cooking
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / physiopathology
  • Rural Population
  • Smoke / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects


  • Air Pollutants
  • Coal
  • Smoke
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution