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Indoor Air Pollution Kills 4 Million a Year

August 8, 2013
Environmental Protection

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p>Research from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that indoor air pollution is thought to be responsible for in excess of four million deaths every year. While the dangers of outdoor air pollution are well documented the situation indoors has not been studied to such a great extent.

A lot of the problems occur in developing countries where the burning of wood, and coal give rise to exposure to high levels of pollutants. A study by the University of Michigan has found that the use of biomass fuels for cooking is increasing among families in poverty leading to increased health risks. The report concludes that; ?The most important [health problems] appear to be childhood acute lower respiratory infections, which remain the single most important cause of death for children aged under 5 years in developing countries.? The WHO has compared the situation with the global burden of disease produced by unsafe sex and tobacco.

Separate research in the US at the Energy Department of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been undertaken on the exposure to nitrogen dioxide from the use of gas hobs for cooking. Results found showed that certain models produced nitrogen dioxide that exceeded the US EPA standards by 55 to 70 percent. Researcher Dr. Jennifer Logue estimates that the long-term health effects of indoor pollutants are on par with that of car accidents, and have a much greater effect on life expectancy than traditional concerns like secondhand smoke or radon. Currently indoor air quality is not regulated in the US or Europe, a situation Dr Richard Corsi of the University of Texas wants to change, saying; ?We haven?t had that regulatory driver for the indoor environment, and yet the indoor environment is probably the most important environment in terms of human health.?