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The Global Burden of Disease Study estimated that in 2010 there were 6.3, 3.5 and 3.2 million deaths attributable to tobacco smoking, household air pollution from solid fuels and ambient particulate matter pollution, respectively.1 The inhalation of polluted air is the leading risk factor for death and disability globally.
The adverse effects of these three categories of air pollution impact most severely on the vulnerable and poor. This is especially true for household air pollution from solid fuels, which almost exclusively affects the poor in the world's poorest countries.2
Around the world approximately three billion people use dirty burning solid fuels like animal dung, crop residues and wood for their day-to-day household energy needs. These fuels are typically burned in open fires for cooking, heating and lighting in or near the home environment. When burned in this way they emit substantial quantities of partial products of combustion like black carbon and carbon monoxide which are harmful to health. The 3.5 million deaths attributable to household air pollution each year are mainly from cardiovascular disease and COPD in adults and pneumonia in young children.3 ,4
In Thorax, Heinzerling et al5 describe the CRECER study, a prospective cohort study of the effects of woodsmoke exposure on children in Guatemala in relation …