Almost half of the world population rely on solid (biomass fuel and coal) for cooking, heating and lightning purpose. The resultant exposure to fine particulate matter from household air pollution is the seventh-largest risk factor for global burden of disease causing between 2.6 and 3.8 million premature deaths per year. The health effect ranges from cardiovascular, respiratory, neurocognitive and reproductive health effect. The most important are cardiovascular and respiratory health effects; others are the risk of burns and cataract in the eyes. Biomass fuel is any living or recently living plant and animal-based material that is burned by humans as fuels, for example, wood, dried animal dung, charcoal, grass and other agricultural residues. Biomass fuels are at the low end of the energy ladder in terms of combustion efficiency and cleanliness. Incomplete combustion of biomass contributes majorly to household air pollution and ambient air pollution. A large number of health-damaging air pollutants are produced during the incomplete combustion of biomass. These include respirable particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, benzene, 1, 3 butadiene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and many other toxic organic compounds. In this article, health effects of biomass fuel use will be described in details highlighting the most affected systems and organs of the body.
Part of the book: Environmental Emissions