Background Biomass is heavily depended on for domestic energy use by people in developing countries. These materials are typically burnt in simple stoves and produce a lot of smoke. Exposure to this indoor air pollution has been linked to a number of respiratory disorders. This study aimed to assess some long term effects exposure to indoor air pollution among fishermen.
Methods A survey was conducted in a fishing community in Nigeria among 337 fishermen exposed to indoor air pollution from burning firewood and 345 matched controls. Exposure was determined by the product of the average daily duration of time spent close to the fire and the number of years (Hour-years). A modified BMRC questionnaire was used to obtain information on respiratory symptoms and spirometry was performed on the participants.
Results The frequency of chronic respiratory symptoms was significantly higher among the exposed fishermen compared with the control subjects. Chronic bronchitis was significantly associated with an obstructive ventilatory pattern. Logistic regression analysis showed an increased risk for chronic bronchitis among exposed fishermen (OR 8.7; 95% CI 4.7–16.3, p <0.001), women were 6 times more likely than men to develop chronic bronchitis (OR 6.6; 95% CI 2.5–17.8, p < 0.001) and cigarette smokers were 5 times more likely than non-smokers to develop chronic bronchitis (OR 5.0; 95% CI 1.8–13.8, p < 0.05).
Conclusion The results of this survey have shown an association between exposure to indoor air pollution and chronic respiratory disorders. Cigarette smoking aggravated this association.