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EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT FOR INDOOR AIR POLLUTION ASSOCIATED WITH HOUSEHOLD FUEL USE IN RURAL DISTRICTS OF SOUTHERN INDIA – RESULTS OF MONITORING EXERCISES IN TAMIL NADU AND ANDHRA PRADESH
S. Sankar, K. Balakrishnan, and R.Padmavathi Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Sri Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute, Chennai

ABSTRACT

Indoor air pollution resulting from combustion of biomass fuels in rural households of developing countries is now recognized as a major contributor to the global burden of disease. Accurate estimation of health risks has been hampered by a paucity of quantitative exposure information. This paper reports the results of two sets of studies that quantified the daily average concentrations of respirable particulates in over 900 rural homes selected through stratified random sampling from seven districts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, India and recorded time activity data from nearly 2000 individuals to reconstruct 24-h average exposures. The mean 24-h average concentrations ranged from 70 to 730 mg/m3 in gas- versus solid fuel-using households, respectively. Concentrations were significantly correlated with fuel type, kitchen type, and fuel quantity. The mean 24-h average exposures ranged from 80 to 570 mg/m3. Among solid fuel users, the mean 24-h average exposures were the highest for women cooks and were significantly different from men and children. Among women, exposures were the highest in the age group of 15–40 years, while among men, exposures were highest in the age group of 65–80 years. The data are being used to develop a model to predict quantitative categories of population exposure based on survey information on housing and fuel characteristics. This would facilitate the development of a regional exposure database and enable better estimation of health risks.

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