A review of diseases associated with household air pollution due to the use of biomass fuels

J Hazard Mater. 2011 Aug 30;192(2):425-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2011.05.087. Epub 2011 Jun 2.


Nearly one third of the world's population use biomass fuels such as coal, wood, animal dung, and crop residues as their primary source of domestic energy. Due to their incomplete combustion, a multitude of pollutants associated with high levels of indoor air pollution (IAP) are released which include suspended particulate matter (SPM), carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), etc. There is a line of evidence that exposure to those pollutants can lead to increased risk of diseases including respiratory infections (e.g., pneumonia, tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and asthma), low birth weight, cataracts, and cardiovascular events. It is one of the major global public health threats that require greater efforts for prevention through research and policy-making. This review summarizes the available information on potential health risks associated with biomass fuel use.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor*
  • Biomass*
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Risk Assessment