Reduced lung function due to biomass smoke exposure in young adults in rural Nepal
This study aimed to assess the effects of biomass smoke exposure on lung function in a Nepalese population addressing some of these methodological issues from previous studies.We carried out a cross-sectional study of adults in a population exposed to biomass smoke and a non-exposed population in Nepal. Questionnaire and lung function data were acquired along with direct measures of indoor and outdoor air quality.Ventilatory function (FEV1, FVC, FEF25-75) was significantly reduced in the population using biomass across all age groups compared to the non-biomass using population, even in the youngest (16-25) age group [mean FEV1 (95% CI) 2.65 (2.57-2.73) vs. 2.83 (2.74-2.91), p=0.004]. Airflow obstruction was twice as common among biomass users compared to liquefied petroleum gas users (8.1% vs. 3.6%, p<0.001) with similar patterns for males (7.4% vs. 3.3%, p=0.022) and females (10.8% vs. 3.8%, p<0.001) based on lower limit of normal. Smoking was a major risk factor for airflow obstruction but biomass exposure added to the risk.Exposure to biomass smoke is associated with deficits in lung function, an effect which can be detected as early as late teenage years. Biomass smoke and cigarette smoke have additive adverse effects on airflow obstruction in this setting.
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