Assessment of exposure to indoor biomass smoke in Puno, Peru
Indoor air pollution resulting from the combustion of biomass fuels poses a significant health threat to as much as half of the world's population (Bruce et al., 2000). Exposure to indoor biomass smoke has been shown to be an important contributor to many diseases including acute respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease, and may be responsible for as much as 2.7% of the global burden of disease (Bruce et al., 2000; Fullerton et al., 2008). In Peru, where the large majority of rural households use biomass fuels for their cooking and heating needs, the effects of exposure to indoor biomass smoke on the health of rural populations have yet to be fully investigated. The aims of this pilot study are 1) to estimate exposure to particulate matter (PM) due to biomass fuel combustion for household members in a rural population in Peru, 2) to compare different methods of measuring PM exposure in this community, and 3) to characterize the household and behavioral factors associated with different levels of exposure. These objectives will be accomplished through real-time direct-reading and integrated PM measurement in households, a questionnaire regarding behaviors potentially associated with exposure, and assessment of household ventilation. Results of this experiment will be used to support a larger study examining the burden and risk factors for chronic cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases in this area and their relationship to indoor air pollution.