Health effect of household fuel pollution on young children in semi-urban and urban areas of Bangladesh

2015-02-10T10:03:09Z (GMT) by S.P.K. Nasanen-Gilmore
Household fuel pollution from the use of low quality biomass fuels is considered as a risk factor for respiratory tract infections (RTl) in women and children. Inhalation of fuel-derived pulmonary toxins (e.g. particulate matter (PM2.5µm) , and carbon monoxide (CO) can harm the lungs of young children, due to their under-developed immune defences. In Bangladesh acute respiratory infections (ARI) are the leading cause of child mortality « 5years of age). This thesis aimed to examine the relationship between RTl and household fuel pollution exposure using measured pollution data and medical diagnoses. During an 18-month longitudinal health intervention in northern Bangladesh households (n=408) were interviewed (3 times) on cooking/fuel-use practices and child health. Anthropometric data (height/weight) and finger-prick blood samples for analysis of immune status (c-reactive protein, alpha-I-acidglycoprotein (AGP) and albumin) were collected (n=32 I < 5years of age). All unwell children (62.4%) were medically examined. Household pollution levels (particulate matter (PM2.5µm) and carbon monoxide (CO) were monitored for a 24-hour period (n=61). Moderate/ severe RTI was common (24.8%) (youngest child only n=213). Poor child growth (stunted: 43.8%, underweight=66.7%, wasted: 38.4%) and immunity were detected. 98% of the households used inefficient chimneyless mud stoves and low quality biomass fuels (wood, golden, dung). The measured indoor pollution levels exceeded the WHO safety thresholds (PM2.5 µm range: 85 to 3020 µm/m3 CO range: 0-16 ppm) (PM2.5 µm>25 µm/m3 , CO>9ppm). Longitudinal multivariate GLM showed that cooking practices were associated with child immune status: haemoglobin levels (F= 1.555, p=NS) were significantly associated with Bihari ethnicity and a fixed stove use (F=3.718 and F=3.716, p<0.05 respectively). Elevated 10glO-AGP levels were found (F=4.371, p<0.05) in Saidpur in households using a fixed stove (F=4.123, F=3.780, p<0.05). The patterns in child growth z-scores were due to age only (stunting: F=7.413, p