Health impacts of indoor air pollution from household solid fuel on children and women

Muhammad UBAID ALI, Yangmei YU, Balal YOUSAF, Mehr Ahmed Mujtaba MUNIR, Sami ULLAH, Chunmiao ZHENG, Xingxing KUANG, Ming Hung WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


The inefficient and incomplete combustion of solid fuel (SF) is associated with high levels of indoor air pollutants leading to 3.55 million deaths annually. The risk is higher in women and children, due to their higher exposure duration and unique physical properties. The current article aims to provide a critical overview regarding the use of solid fuel, its associated pollutants, their toxicity mechanisms and, most importantly the associated health impacts, especially in women and children. Pollutants associated with SF mostly include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, particulate matter, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, and their concentrations are two- to threefold higher in indoor environments. These pollutants can lead to a variety of health risks by inducing different toxicity mechanisms, such as oxidative stress, DNA methylation, and gene activation. Exposed children have an increased prevalence of low birth weight, acute lower respiratory tract infections, anemia and premature mortality. On the other hand, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular diseases are the major causes of disability and premature death in women. Indoor air pollution resulting from SF combustion is a major public health threat globally. To reduce the risks, it is important to identify future research gaps and implement effective interventions and policies. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126127
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Early online dateMay 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2021


Ubaid Ali, M., Yu, Y., Yousaf, B., Munir, M. A. M., Ullah, S., Zheng, C., . . . Wong, M. H. (2021). Health impacts of indoor air pollution from household solid fuel on children and women. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 416. Retrieved from


  • Solid fuel
  • Indoor air quality
  • Pollutants
  • Toxicity mechanisms
  • Health risks


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