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New WHO Targets to Reduce Health Damage from Indoor Air Pollution
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New WHO Targets to Reduce Health Damage from Indoor Air Pollution

The new 'WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Household Fuel Combustion' highlight the dangers of burning fuels like unprocessed coal and kerosene in the home, and sets targets for reducing emissions of health-damaging pollutants for domestic cookstoves, space heaters and fuel-based lamps.

According to WHO, nearly 3 billion people worldwide still lack access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking, heating and lighting. The WHO findings also revealed that 4.3 million people worldwide die every year from household air pollution emitted by rudimentary biomass and coal cookstoves.

These diseases are primarily caused by high levels of fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide released by the burning of solid fuels such as wood, coal, animal dung, crop waste and charcoal in inefficient stoves, space heaters or lamps.

The targets are the result of years of review of the health impacts of household air pollution emissions and examination of the levels by which emissions would have to be reduced in order to meet WHO guidelines for air quality.

Emission Targets:

Fine particulate matter*

  • Appliances with chimneys or hoods: no more than 0.80 milligrams/minute (mg/min).
  • Unvented stoves, heaters and fuel-based lamps: no more than 0.23 mg/min.

 Carbon monoxide

  • Appliances with hoods or chimneys: no more than 0.59 g/min.
  • Unvented stoves, heaters and fuel-based lamps; no more than 0.16 g/min.

 *Fine particulate matter is a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles consisting mainly of sulfate, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, black carbon, mineral dust and water.

View the full WHO report.

Image: Jonathan Banks

Author: DelAgua

Publish Date: 13.11.2014

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