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Indoor air pollution as a lung health hazard: focus on populous countries

Hu, Guoping; Ran, Pixin

Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine: March 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 2 - p 158–164
doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e3283218304
Obstructive, occupational and environmental diseases: Edited by Basil Varkey

Purpose of review Indoor air pollution (IAP) resulting from the use of solid fuel for cooking and heating is a significant public health concern in developing countries. Recent studies have attempted to better characterize the epidemiology of IAP in respiratory diseases and develop technologies for reducing this IAP exposure.

Recent findings Evidence showed that IAP resulting from solid fuel smoke is a causative or contributory factor to acute respiratory infection, chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma, lung cancer and tuberculosis. Evidence also showed that health education, improvements in household ventilation and area distribution, improvements in stoves and changes of the fuels for cooking and heating can reduce IAP.

Summary Evidence of impacts of IAP on respiratory system disease is strong. Although some technologies can improve indoor air quality in households, improving it in households is still an urgent and high-priority task. Longitudinal studies using different methods of exposure assessment that include both chemical measurements and activity data, with longer follow-up and larger samples, are needed. Any program for the prevention of IAP must be based on what is acceptable to the community, and the effects of the intervention must be evaluated.

Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases, State Key Lab of Respiratory Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China

Correspondence to Dr Pixin Ran, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University; 195 Dongfeng Xi Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510182, China Tel: +86 20 81340482; fax: +86 20 81340482; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.