Chulha smoke choking Indian women, kids
High blood pressure (BP) has become the world's deadliest disease-causing risk factor.
But for Indians, indoor air pollution (IAP) — emanating from chulhas burning wood, coal and animal dung as fuel — has been found to be a bigger health hazard for Indians.
The first-ever estimates of the contribution of different risk factors to the global burden of disease between 1990 and 2010 has found that household air pollution from solid fuels have risen from being the second highest risk factor for Indians.
Published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, on Thursday, the study, which took five years and involved nearly 500 researchers from 50 countries, including India, found that globally high BP jumped four spots since 1990 to become the worst risk factor for disease, followed by smoking including second-hand smoke, alcohol, low fruit consumption and high body fat.
However for Indians, high BP is the third worst threat after IAP and smoking, including second-hand smoke.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had said that IAP was claiming 500,000 lives in India every year, most of whom were women and children. According to WHO, India accounted for 80% of the 600,000 premature deaths that occur in south-east Asia annually due to exposure to IAP. Nearly 70% of rural households in India don't even have ventilation.
More than three billion people rely on the burning of solid fuels to prepare their meals. Burning solid fuels emits carbon monoxide, particulates, benzene and formaldehyde which can result in pneumonia, asthma, blindness, lung cancer, tuberculosis and low birth weight.