TitleAdverse health impacts of cooking with kerosene: A multi-country analysis within the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsArku, RE, Brauer, M, Duong, ML, Wei, L, Hu, B, Tse, LAh, Mony, PK, Lakshmi, PVM, Pillai, RK, Mohan, V, Yeates, K, Kruger, L, Rangarajan, S, Koon, T, Yusuf, S, Hystad, P
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume188
Pagination109851
Date Published06/2020
ISSN00139351
Abstract
 

Highlights

  • Kerosene was (until 2014) considered a relatively clean household fuel for cooking and lighting.
  • Though the WHO discouraged kerosene use, evidence in support of this position are still scarce.
  • We prospectively examined the effects of kerosene use on cardiorespiratory morbidity and mortality.
  • Kerosene use for cooking was associated with higher rates of baseline respiratory morbidity.
  • Prospectively, it was associated with increased risk of mortality and incident cardiorespiratory outcomes.

Background

Kerosene, which was until recently considered a relatively clean household fuel, is still widely used in low- and middle-income countries for cooking and lighting. However, there is little data on its health effects. We examined cardiorespiratory effects and mortality in households using kerosene as their primary cooking fuel within the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study.

Methods

We analyzed baseline and follow-up data on 31,490 individuals from 154 communities in China, India, South Africa, and Tanzania where there was at least 10% kerosene use for cooking at baseline. Baseline comorbidities and health outcomes during follow-up (median 9.4 years) were compared between households with kerosene versus clean (gas or electricity) or solid fuel (biomass and coal) use for cooking. Multi-level marginal regression models adjusted for individual, household, and community level covariates.

Results

Higher rates of prevalent respiratory symptoms (e.g. 34% [95% CI:15–57%] more dyspnea with usual activity, 44% [95% CI: 21–72%] more chronic cough or sputum) and lower lung function (differences in FEV1: −46.3 ml (95% CI: −80.5; −12.1) and FVC: −54.7 ml (95% CI: −93.6; −15.8)) were observed at baseline for kerosene compared to clean fuel users. The odds of hypertension was slightly elevated but no associations were observed for blood pressure. Prospectively, kerosene was associated with elevated risks of all-cause (HR: 1.32 (95% CI: 1.14-1.53)) and cardiovascular (HR: 1.34 (95% CI: 1.00-1.80)) mortality, as well as major fatal and incident non-fatal cardiovascular (HR: 1.34 (95% CI: 1.08-1.66)) and respiratory (HR: 1.55 (95% CI: 0.98-2.43)) diseases, compared to clean fuel use. Further, compared to solid fuel users, those using kerosene had 20–47% higher risks for the above outcomes.

Conclusions

Kerosene use for cooking was associated with higher rates of baseline respiratory morbidity and increased risk of mortality and cardiorespiratory outcomes during follow-up when compared to either clean or solid fuels. Replacing kerosene with cleaner-burning fuels for cooking is recommended.

DOI10.1016/j.envres.2020.109851
Short TitleEnvironmental Research