Global Health Observatory (GHO)

Household air pollution

Almost three billion people worldwide continue to depend on solid fuels, including biomass fuels (wood, dung, agricultural residues) and coal, for their energy needs. Cooking and heating with solid fuels on open fires or traditional stoves results in high levels of household air pollution. Indoor smoke contains a range of health-damaging pollutants, such as small particles and carbon monoxide, and particulate pollution levels may be 20 times higher than accepted guideline values.

There is consistent evidence that exposure to household air pollution can lead to acute lower respiratory infections in children under five, and ischaemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer in adults. In 2012, household air pollution was responsible for 7.7% of the global mortality.


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