The following is the summary of “Lung Effects of Household Air Pollution” published in the November 2022 issue of Allergy and Clinical Immunology issue by Qui et al.

Common sources of household air pollution (HAP) include smoke from biomass fuels, tobacco smoke from tobacco use, and nitrogen oxides from cooking and cleaning. Nearly 2.4 billion people, especially in low and middle-income nations, rely on solid fuels as their primary energy source for cooking and heating. Minorities in high-income nations are especially at risk from the widespread use of wood for domestic heating. Asthma, adult and child acute respiratory tract infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, TB, and respiratory mortality are all linked to HAP in low and middle-income nations. 

Even while the rates of wood smoke exposure are lower in high-income nations, it is still linked to decreased lung function, increased airflow obstruction and chronic bronchitis, and increased rates of both overall and respiratory-cause-specific mortality. The effects of high-efficiency particle filters used in home air cleaners on the severity of asthma attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease progression are inconsistent. Chimneys on cookstoves, better biomass fuel combustion stoves, and the transition to liquid petroleum gas are all examples of interventions involving biomass fuel in nations with low per capita income. There still needs to be more consistency in effect on health outcomes. Despite mixed results, community-based wood stove replacement programs are at the heart of efforts to reduce HAP from biomass fuel in high-income nations. 

Also, measures to discourage smoking at home have met varying degrees of success in households where children reside. The effectiveness of environmental interventions to reduce HAP pollution and health issues vary. Better environmental health policies result from a deeper understanding of the elements that affect indoor air quality and the steps that may be taken to prevent the degradation of or improve polluted indoor air.