Cardiovascular Effects of Indoor Air Pollution from Solid Fuel: Relevance to Sub-Saharan Africa

Ana Olga Mocumbi, Simon Stewart, Sam Patel, Wael K. Al-Delaimy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This research aims to summarize evidence on the cardiovascular effects of indoor air pollution (IAP) from solid fuel and identify areas for research and policy for low- and middle-income countries. RECENT FINDINGS: IAP affects people from low socioeconomic status in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, who depend upon biomass as a fuel for cooking, heating, and lighting. In these settings, IAP disproportionately affects women, children, the elderly, and people with cardiopulmonary disease. The health effects of IAP include acute respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumoconiosis, cataract and blindness, pulmonary tuberculosis, adverse effects to pregnancy, cancer, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. New methods for assessing individual IAP exposure, exposing pathways of IAP-related cardiovascular disease, and performing qualitative research focusing on population preferences regarding strategies to reduce IAP exposure have been the most important developments in tackling the burden of IAP. Unfortunately, major disparities exist regarding research into the cardiovascular effects of IAP, with only few studies coming from sub-Saharan Africa, despite this region having the highest proportion of households using solid fuels. Premature cardiovascular deaths and disability can be averted in low-middle income countries by addressing biomass fuel usage by the most disadvantaged settings. While research is needed to uncover the mechanisms involved in cardiovascular outcomes linked to IAP, immediate action is needed to educate the most affected populations on IAP health hazards and to reduce their exposure to this environmental risk through promoting improved housing and better ventilation, as well as increasing access to affordable clean cooking energy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-126
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomass fuel
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Indoor air pollution


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