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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Florida: Multiple Household Air Pollutants Associated with Childhood Cough in Uganda

Most household air pollution interventions in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa have focused on one source, such as replacing polluting cooking sources with cleaner burning cooking stoves. However, these interventions have not sufficiently reduced household air pollution and respiratory health problems in children.

Researchers led by Dr. Eric Coker, an assistant professor of environmental and global health at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, found that in addition to cooking fuel and type of cook stove, multiple household air pollution indicators were strongly associated with persistent cough in children. Their findings appear in the journal Environment International.

The team conducted a case-control study among children with persistent cough seen at primary care clinics in Kampala, Uganda. Community health workers asked parents about combustion emission sources in the home, as well as household conditions that may mitigate exposure to household air pollutants. Researchers then identified household air pollution indicators most strongly associated with persistent cough in children.

Their findings indicate that in addition to fuel-type (kerosene), the number of hours burning solid fuels, use of polluting fuels (kerosene or candles) for lighting the home, tobacco smoking indoors, cooking indoors, cooking with children indoors, lack of windows in the cooking area, and not opening windows while cooking, were all associated with persistent cough.

“Such exposure-mitigating factors represent practical intervention that, when combined together, hold the potential to reduce household air pollution exposure in children,” the authors write.

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