Household use of biomass fuel, especially traditional stove is associated with childhood wheeze and eczema: a cross sectional study of rural communities in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Olivia Lall, Gayan Bowatte, Samath Dharmaratne, Adrian J. Lowe, Alicia Vakalopoulos, Isabella Ambrose, Pasan Jayasinghe, Duminda Yasaratne, Jane Heyworth, Shyamali C. Dharmage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Most households in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) rely on biomass fuel for daily cooking. Studies investigating the association between early life exposure to household air pollution and health outcomes in children in LMICs are limited. Objective: To investigate the effects of biomass fuel for cooking and different types of stoves on wheeze and allergies in children of rural Sri Lankan communities. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 452 children aged 5 years and younger in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Mothers completed a questionnaire on the use of biomass fuel and respiratory and allergic outcomes in children. The associations between biomass fuel and outcomes were analyzed using logistic regression models, adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Use of biomass fuel for cooking was associated with increased risk of childhood wheeze (aOR 2.29; 95% CI 1.04–5.08) and eczema (aOR 4.57; 95% CI 1.24–16.89) compared with households that used clean fuel (liquid petroleum gas (LPG), electricity and/or biogas). Among households that used biomass fuel, use of traditional biomass stoves was associated with a higher risk of childhood wheeze (aOR 2.95; 95% CI 1.19–7.33), allergic rhinitis (aOR 3.01; 95% CI 1.42–6.39), and eczema (aOR 7.39; 95% CI 1.70–32.06) compared with households that used clean stoves. Conclusion: Children living in households that use biomass fuel, especially traditional biomass cookstoves, have a higher risk of wheeze and allergic diseases. Access to affordable clean energy sources that reduce air pollution may help improve the health of children in rural LMICs. Supplemental data for this article is available online at at www.tandfonline.com/ijas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Asthma
Volume60
Issue number2
Early online date26 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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