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Volume 14, No. 6, October 2014, Pages 1789-1797 PDF(336 KB)  
doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2013.05.0157   

Non-Invasive Measurement of Carbon Monoxide in Rural Indian Woman Exposed to Different Cooking Fuel Smoke

Vinod Joon1, Krishan Kumar2, M. Bhattacharya3, Avinash Chandra1

1 Centre for Energy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi-110016, India
2 School of Environmental Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-110067, India
3 Department of Community Health Administration, National Institute of Health & Family Welfare, Munirka, New Delhi-110067, India




In India more than 70% of the population use biomass fuels for cooking. Women, who traditionally carry out the cooking in this culture, experience the highest lifetime Carbon Monoxide (CO) exposure due to the burning of such fuels in traditional stoves. CO levels were measured in this study in the breathing zone atmosphere of cooks during the cooking cycle, using different fuels such as LPG, wood, crop residues and dung cakes, in a rural area of the National Capital Region (NCR) of India. The exhaled breath CO levels of the non-smoking female cooks were also measured before and after cooking. A high degree of correlation was obtained between CO levels during the cooking cycle and exhaled breath CO levels. The study suggests that the enhanced exhaled breath CO levels of the cooks were largely due to the burning of biomass fuels. A high value of R2 (0.79) was obtained during the model fitting exercise, which suggests the usefulness of fuel-type and cooking location (i.e., indoor/outdoor) as explanatory variables for predicting exhaled breath CO levels among cooks. The prevalence of CO poisoning symptoms was found to be significantly higher among the biomass fuel users. The study demonstrates the potential of the exhaled breath CO technique as a non-invasive, easy and economical alternative for predicting CO exposure due to the burning of biomass fuel in rural settings, where it may not always be possible to collect CO exposure data using the conventional invasive techniques.



Keywords: Exhaled breath carbon monoxide; COHb%; Indoor air pollution; Cooking fuels; Rural woman; Exposure; Health.



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