UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Household Cooking with Solid Fuels Contributes to Ambient PM2.5 Air Pollution and the Burden of Disease Chafe, Zoë A.; Brauer, Michael; Klimont, Zbigniew; Van Dingenen, Rita; Mehta, Sumi; Rao, Shilpa; Riahi, Keywan; Dentener, Frank; Smith, Kirk R.


Background: Approximately 2.8 billion people cook with solid fuels. Research has focused on the health impacts of indoor exposure to fine particulate pollution. Here, for the 2010 Global Burden of Disease project (GBD 2010), we evaluated the impact of household cooking with solid fuels on regional population-weighted ambient PM₂.₅ (particulate matter ≤ 2.5 μm) pollution (APM₂.₅). Objectives: We estimated the proportion and concentrations of APM₂.₅ attributable to household cooking with solid fuels (PM₂.₅-cook) for the years 1990, 2005, and 2010 in 170 countries, and associated ill health. Methods: We used an energy supply–driven emissions model (GAINS; Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies) and source-receptor model (TM5-FASST) to estimate the proportion of APM₂.₅ produced by households and the proportion of household PM₂.₅ emissions from cooking with solid fuels. We estimated health effects using GBD 2010 data on ill health from APM₂.₅ exposure. Results: In 2010, household cooking with solid fuels accounted for 12% of APM₂.₅ globally, varying from 0% of APM₂.₅ in five higher-income regions to 37% (2.8 μg/m³ of 6.9 μg/m³ total) in southern sub-Saharan Africa. PM₂.₅-cook constituted > 10% of APM₂.₅ in seven regions housing 4.4 billion people. South Asia showed the highest regional concentration of APM₂.₅ from household cooking (8.6 μg/m³). On the basis of GBD 2010, we estimate that exposure to APM₂.₅ from cooking with solid fuels caused the loss of 370,000 lives and 9.9 million disability-adjusted life years globally in 2010. Conclusions: PM₂.₅ emissions from household cooking constitute an important portion of APM₂.₅ concentrations in many places, including India and China. Efforts to improve ambient air quality will be hindered if household cooking conditions are not addressed.

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