High Pollution Household Fuels Linked To Increased Risk of Fatal Heart Problems: Study

Exposure to indoor air pollution caused by burning fuel, such as kerosene or diesel, may increase an individual’s risk of suffering a heart attack and dying, according to the findings of a new study. 

An international group of researchers say those who burned kerosene or diesel fuel in their homes have an increased risk of dying from all causes over 10 years. The findings were published June 14, in the journal Circulation.

Air pollution is the third largest risk factor for global disease burden and one-half of the world’s population lives in poverty and burns these types of fuels for cooking, heating and lighting. Researchers wanted to evaluate the relationship between household fuel use and cardiovascular disease death.

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Researchers in the Golestan Cohort Study in northeastern Iran examined data from 50,000 individuals 40 to 75 years of age between 2004 and 2008. They collected data on lifetime household fuel use and other baseline exposures and followed up with the participants through 2012.

They measured exposure to indoor pollution generated from burning kerosene, wood, diesel, cow dung, and natural gas. Blood pressure and other body measurements were regularly taken and participants completed questionnaires concerning fuel, cooking, and heating.

More than 3,000 patients died during the followup period, a total of six percent. Seventy eight percent of deaths were attributed to noncommunicable disease, including cardiovascular, oncological and respiratory illnesses.

Patients who used kerosene and diesel fuels at home had an 11% increased risk of dying from cardiovascular problems and a 14% increased risk of ischemic heart disease death, which is heart disease caused by a clot.

Similarly, a study published in journal BMJ, concluded stroke risk increased in patients when they were exposed to air pollution, even when exposure was for a short period of time. More so, the higher the pollution levels the more strokes patients experienced.

Participants in the new study who used cleaner fuels, like natural gas, had a six percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular problems, compared to other fuels.

Researchers also concluded women had an increased risk for all-cause and cardiovascular disease death compared with men. Both men and women had similar risks for ischemic heart disease death.

A study published in May found similar results concerning air pollution and heart disease. Patients who lived in areas with even low levels of outdoor pollution, levels commonly found in many U.S. cities, faced an increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks.


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