Indoor Air Quality

1796 Words8 Pages
Diversity in Health and Care 2010;7:5–7

# 2010 Radcliffe Publishing

Guest editorial

Indoor air pollution: a poorly recognised hazard Kin Bong Hubert Lam BSc MPhil PhD
Lecturer in Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology

Om P Kurmi BSc MSc
Research Fellow

Jon G Ayres BSc MBBS MD FRCP FRCPE FFOM FRCPSG
Professor of Environmental and Respiratory Medicine
Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston,
Birmingham, UK

Air is essential for life, and its quality has long been recognised as being linked to health and well-being. As early as the 13th century, the then king of England,
Edward I, alerted by the pungent smoke over London, forbade the burning of coal and ordered
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Although the source is admittedly different, these levels are very much higher than those found in outdoor urban background sites in the UK (around 15 g/m3).
Both epidemiological and experimental studies have shown that indoor air pollution has serious consequences for health, especially in women and children.
Conditions such as acute lower respiratory infection, particularly pneumonia in children, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and cataract are the major illnesses associated with or caused by indoor air pollution (World Health Organization,
2002). Exposure to smoke from solid fuel increases the risk of COPD by approximately threefold in adults, and the risk is much higher in women who do the cooking (Kurmi et al, 2010). Worldwide, indoor air pollution accounts for 2 million deaths annually
(United Nations Development Programme, 2009) and
2.7% of the loss of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs;
World Health Organization, 2002). In developing countries, 44% of these deaths occur in children, and 60% of the adult deaths occur in women (United
Nations Development Programme, 2009).
Apart from the local health effects, the burning of solid fuels can also have a much wider impact on the environment. Although
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