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Editorial |

Adding Fuel to the Fire Increasing Evidence for Developmental Toxicity of Indoor Solid Fuel Combustion

Catherine J. Karr, MD, PhD, MS
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(6):565-566. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.6.
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The importance of the adverse effects of air pollution on children's health cannot be ignored. In particular, remarkably high levels of exposure to indoor air pollution have been documented in settings where solid fuels, including coal or biomass (such as wood, dung and crop residues), are burned for heating or cooking.1 Such fuels are used by more than half the world's population.

Studies in low-income countries where these levels of exposure predominate have found consistent evidence of the respiratory health effects of indoor air pollution on young children. For example, exposure to indoor smoke more than doubles a child's risk of serious acute respiratory infection, the most important cause of death in developing countries.2 Increasingly, studies are also finding associations between indoor solid fuel use and other leading pediatric morbidities, such as low birth weight.3


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