Biomass fuel use and indoor air pollution in homes in Malawi

DG Fullerton, S Semple, F Kalambo, A Suseno, R Malamba, G Henderson, Jonathan Ayres, SB Gordon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    67 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Air pollution from biomass fuels in Africa is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity both in adults and children. The work describes the nature and quantity of smoke exposure from biomass fuel in Malawian homes. Methods: Markers of indoor air quality were measured in 62 homes (31 rural and 31 urban) over a typical 24 h period. Four different devices were used (one gravimetric device, two photometric devices and a carbon monoxide (HOBO) monitor. Gravimetric samples were analysed for transition metal content. Data on cooking and lighting fuel type together with information on indicators of socioeconomic status were collected by questionnaire. Results: Respirable dust levels in both the urban and rural environment were high with the mean (SD) 24 h average levels being 226 mu g/m(3) (206 mu g/m(3)). Data from real-time instruments indicated respirable dust concentrations were >250 mu g/m(3) for >1 h per day in 52% of rural homes and 17% of urban homes. Average carbon monoxide levels were significantly higher in urban compared with rural homes (6.14 ppm vs 1.87 ppm; p
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)777-783
    Number of pages7
    JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


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