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Volume 17, No. 1, January 2017, Pages 245-252 PDF(247 KB)  
doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2016.01.0028   

Daily Personal Exposure of Women Cooks to Respirable Particulate Matters during Cooking with Solid Bio-Fuels in a Rural Community of West Bengal, India

Sukanta Nayek, Pratap Kumar Padhy

Department of Environmental Studies, Institute of Science, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, Birbhum, West Bengal, 731 235, India


  • Personal respirable particulate exposure on women cook in rural kitchen is assessed.
  • Openness wise respirable particulate exposure data during cooking is presented here.
  • Prediction model can be used for respirable particulate exposure assessment in future.
  • Pollution avoidance can be adopted based on the significant predictors of the model.
  • Study may help in formulating policy for better indoor air quality in rural homes.



About 60% of the Indian population are still relying on the traditional bio-fuels comprising of firewood, cow dung cake, crop residue etc. More than 85% of the rural households use these unprocessed bio-fuels for cooking purposes. Biomass fuel burning in daily cooking with traditional inefficient earthen stoves, in an un-vented kitchen, usually emits very high levels of smoke containing a complex mixture of a wide array of potentially hazardous pollutants, especially, particulate matters of varying size range. Size smaller than the PM10 particles, can penetrate further deep into the gas exchange region of the lungs and are termed as the respirable particulate matter with 50% cut point at 4 µm. Respirable particulate exposure assessment is particularly important in case of health hazard explanation because it can enter into the deepest of the lungs. Personal exposures to respirable particulate matters were assessed during cooking hours in the varied opened kitchens, considering the seasonal change and the meal preparation as covariates. Maximum variability for the particulate exposures was observed in the kitchens with openness range of 15–60%. Greater particulate exposures were found in the least opened kitchens. Two-way ANCOVA showed significant impact of seasonal change on the differential opened kitchens for personal exposure to respirable particulate matters. Tukey post hoc test reveals significant mean differences of respirable particulates in all pair-wise seasonal combinations and in all the pair-wise openness type combinations except for the < 15% and 15–30% opened kitchens. Winter season came out to be one of the significant predictor for the personal exposure prediction model. Across all the seasons and kitchen openness, average exposure concentration of the respirable particulate matters was 1445 µg m–3.



Keywords: Bio-fuels; Personal exposure; Respirable particulate matters; Rural kitchen; Woman cook.



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