Effect of chronic exposure to biomass fuel smoke on pulmonary function test parameters

Priya Arora, Rajesh Gupta, Rahul Chopra, Anupama Gupta, Neena Mishra, Sushma Sood


Background: Life in a typical Indian household revolves around the cooking area, and Indian women spend much of their time there. Cooking stoves in most households are nothing more than a pit, a chulha (a U-shaped construction made from mud), or three pieces of brick. Cooking under these conditions entails high levels of exposure to cooking smoke. Aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Chronic Exposure to Biomass Fuel Smoke on Pulmonary Function Test Parameters.

Methods: 60 non-smoking women without any history of any major chronic illness in the past were selected for this study. The study group comprised of 30 rural female subjects who were chronically exposed to biomass fuel smoke combustion and 30 age matched urban female subjects exposed chronically to clean fuel combustion (Liquified Petroleum Gas–LPG) in Haryana (India). All the subjects were evaluated for pulmonary function tests by RMS Medspiror.

Results: Biomass exposure index came out to be 85.68±3.69 for women cooking on biomass and LPG index was 64.17±6.97 for women cooking on LPG. This implies significant chronic exposure of women to biomass fuel smoke. The lung function parameters were significantly lesser in biomass exposed rural women [FEV1 (p<0.01), FVC (p<0.01), FEF25-75 (p<0.01), FEV1/FVC ratio (p<0.01), PEFR (p<0.01), MVV (p<0.01)] than the LPG exposed urban women. The evaluation of PFT suggested obstructive type of pulmonary disease.

Conclusion: The derangement in pulmonary function parameters in women exposed to biomass smoke pollutants could be due to chronic significant exposure as suggested by high Biomass exposure Index. Inadequate ventilation in cooking area without chimney/vent also contributed to pulmonary function derangement and COPD.



Biomass fuel, Clean fuel (LPG), COPD, Biomass exposure index, Pulmonary function tests, Spirometry

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