We examine the impact of exposure to biomass burning events (primarily crop burning) on the prevalence of hypertension in four North Indian states. We use data from the National Family Health Survey-IV for 2015-16 and employ a multivariate logistic and linear model to estimate the effect of exposure to biomass burning on the prevalence of hypertension and blood pressure, respectively. The adjusted odds ratio of hypertension among individuals living in areas with high intensity of biomass (HIB) burning (defined as exposure to 100 fire-events during the past 30 days) is 1.15 [95% CI: 1.003-1.32]. The odds ratios further increase at a higher intensity of biomass burning and downwind fires are found to be responsible for the negative effect of fires on cardiovascular health. We also find that the systolic and diastolic blood pressure for older cohorts is significantly higher due to exposure to HIB. We estimate that elimination of HIB would prevent loss of 70-91 thousand DALYs every year and 1.73 to 2.24 Billion USD (in PPP terms) over 5 years by reducing the prevalence of hypertension. Therefore, curbing biomass burning will be associated with significant health and economic benefits in North India.
Keywords: Cardiovascular health; Crop burning; Hypertension; India; Remote sensing.
© 2021 The Authors.