The global statistics suggested by the World Health Organization says that around 3.8 million people a year die prematurely from illness attributable to the household air pollution caused by the inefficient use of solid fuels and kerosene for cooking. Among these 3.8 million deaths:
- 27% are due to pneumonia
- 18% from stroke
- 27% from ischaemic heart disease
- 20% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- 8% from lung cancer
Dr Mahaveer Modi, chest physician from Pune, said, “More generally, small particulate matter and other pollutants in indoor smoke inflame the airways and lungs, impairing immune response and reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. There is also evidence of links between household air pollution and low birth weight, tuberculosis, cataract, nasopharyngeal and laryngeal cancers.”
Women exposed to high levels of indoor smoke are more than two times as likely to suffer from COPD than women who use cleaner fuels and technologies. Among men (who already have a heightened risk of COPD due to their higher rates of smoking), exposure to household air pollution nearly doubles that risk.