Associations between household air pollution and reduced lung function in women and children in rural southern India

Sameer Patel, Anna Leavey, Ajay Sheshadri, Praveen Kumar, Sandeep Kandikuppa, Jaime Tarsi, Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay, Priscilla Johnson, Kalpana Balakrishnan, Kenneth B. Schechtman, Mario Castro, Gautam Yadama, Pratim Biswas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Half of the world's population still relies on solid fuels to fulfill its energy needs for cooking and space heating, leading to high levels of household air pollution (HAP), adversely affecting human health and the environment. A cross-sectional cohort study was conducted to investigate any associations between: (1) HAP metrics (mass concentration of particulate matter of aerodynamic size less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5), lung-deposited surface area (LDSA) and carbon monoxide (CO)); (2) a range of household and socio-demographic characteristics; and (3) lung function for women and children exposed daily to biomass cookstove emissions, in rural southern India. HAP measurements were collected inside the kitchen of 96 households, and pulmonary function tests were performed for the women and child in each enrolled household. Detailed questionnaires captured household characteristics, health histories and various socio-demographic parameters. Simple linear and logistic regression analysis was performed to examine possible associations between the HAP metrics, lung function and all household/socio-demographic variables. Obstructive lung defects (forced vital capacity (FVC) ≥ lower limit of normal (LLN) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/FVC < LLN) were found in 8% of mothers and 9% of children, and restrictive defects (FVC < LLN and FEV1/FVC ≥ LLN) were found in 17% of mothers and 15% of children. A positive association between LDSA, included for the first time in this type of epidemiological study, and lung function was observed, indicating LDSA is a superior metric compared to PM2.5 to assess effects of PM on lung function. HAP demonstrated a moderate association with subnormal lung function in children. The results emphasize the need to look beyond mass-based PM metrics to assess fully the association between HAP and lung function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1405-1415
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Toxicology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • cookstove
  • household air pollution
  • indoor air quality
  • lung function
  • lung-deposited surface area
  • pulmonary function tests
  • residential combustion
  • spirometry


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