Assessment of Health Risk of Children from Traditional Biomass Burning in Rural Households
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Indoor air pollution from burning of solid unprocessed biomass fuel and health risk arising from it are a crucial issue in developing countries. Smoke deposits (black soot) from traditional cooking stoves in the kitchen are characterized, and the health risk of children arising from it is assessed. Five types of wood, sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo), banyan (Ficus benghalensis), eucalyptus (Eucalyptus sp.), palm (Borassus flabellifer) and mixed wood were used by the villagers as their main cooking fuels. Black soots were collected and characterization was done by X-Ray fluorescence spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The highest concentration of lead was observed in soot from sissoo wood burning among the five types of black soots, followed by mixed wood, palm, banyan and eucalyptus. The quantitative estimation of manganese concentration was found to be very high in all varieties of black soot. Surface morphology study revealed that all the surfaces of black soot were similar in nature. Using metal concentration derived from the five types of black soot, exposure of children to heavy metals was calculated via three types of exposure pathways and it was found that the average daily exposure level of all elements was in the order of hand-to-mouth ingestion > dermal contact > inhalation. It was also noted that the non-carcinogenic hazard indexes and carcinogenic risks of metals in black soots were both well under the safe values.
KeywordsIndoor air pollution Black soot Cooking stoves Surface morphology Chemical characterization Children’s health risk assessment
The authors acknowledge their sincere thanks to the funding agency, UGC F. No. 42-434/2013(SR), dated 12 March 2013 for providing necessary funds for conducting the present research. The authors are also thankful to the Department of Environmental Science and University Science Instrumentation Centre (USIC) of the University of Burdwan for providing research support. They are also grateful to all the participants who took part in this study and all others who provided invaluable help and support in conducting the study.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this manuscript.
For this study ethical approval was granted by the Ethical Committee Board of the University of Burdwan.
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