Thursday, 10 December 2020

Cooking with wood may cause lung damage


 

Advanced imaging with CT shows that people who cook with biomass fuels like wood are at risk of suffering considerable damage to their lungs from breathing in dangerous concentrations of pollutants and bacterial toxins, according to a new study.

 

Approximately 3 billion people around the world cook with biomass, such as wood or dried brush. Pollutants from cooking with biomass are a major contributor to the estimated 4 million deaths a year from household air pollution-related illness.

 

 

While public health initiatives have tried to provide support to transition from biomass fuels to cleaner-burning liquefied petroleum gas as a fuel source, a significant number of homes continue to use biomass fuels. Financial constraints and a reluctance to change established habits are factors, combined with a lack of information on the impact of biomass smoke on lung health.

 

Researchers measured the concentrations of pollutants in the homes and then studied the lung function of the individuals, using traditional tests such as spirometry. They also used advanced CT scanning to make quantitative measurements -- for instance, they acquired one scan when the person inhaled and another after they exhaled and measured the difference between the images to see how the lungs were functioning.

 

Analysis showed that the ones who cooked with wood biomass were exposed to greater concentrations of pollutants and bacterial endotoxins compared to liquefied petroleum gas users. They also had a significantly higher level of air trapping in their lungs, a condition associated with lung diseases.

 

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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